GERMANY: MAN shareholders go to court over Piech appointment
A group of MAN shareholder representatives is disputing the election of Ferdinand Piech as head of the supervisory board. They complain that Piech has a conflict of interest, as he is mainly interested in merging MAN with Scania and the south American truck division of Volkswagen.
The Schutzgemeinschaft der Kapitalanleger (SdK), the society for the protection of shareholders and capital investors, has filed a complaint against the appointment of Piech and two other Volkswagen representatives on the MAN supervisory board with a court in Munich. The other two elected parties are Rubert Stadler, head of Audi, and Stephan Schaller, head of Volkswagen Commerical Vehicles.
Volkswagen owns almost 30% of voting rights in MAN, and 35% of voting rights in Scania. A representative for the society told a German newspaper at the weekend that because of this ownership structure, it is unlikely that Volkswagen's representatives on the MAN board would be able to make decisions that were purely in the interest of MAN shareholders.
Volkswagen's Ferdinand Piech was elected to the MAN supervisory board at the group's annual general meeting last month, but with an approval rating of just 73%. This is extremely low for a shareholder meeting, which normally elects board members with a mandate of over 99%.
The SdK is still questioning whether Piech had reached a written agreement with MAN works council chief, Lothar Pholmann, guaranteeing jobs in order to win approval for his election to the board.