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Guest eyoismos

Volkswagen scandal

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Guest PatrickT

You continue provoking users in this forum whenever they post something against Germany or against some German company. You called us "Christian Turks" and eyoismos retaliated with a Greek swear. Nothing wrong with it. If you don't want people swearing at you then stop provoking them.

 

As you can see I didn't delete your insults (you also talk about Greek being a "dead language" in a later post), the same way I'm not going to delete eyoismos' insults. I don't need to remind you, one more time, that this is a Greek and not a German forum. You're obviously welcome here to post your opinion about anything, but if you expect respect then you should show respect to this website and to this forum and its users.

i did never say a personal insult. But as it seems ok to do so and you openly give greenlight i too think that eyosismus or whatever his nickname is, is an old bitter asshole with a sad life. His insult was directed at me as a person and you say thats ok. so free game.

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Patrick no matter how you dice it, German companies have been cheating, bending the rules, paying bribes, ... Eventually shit piles up to high, and there is a price to pay.

 

Texas is another US state where the idiots outnumber the smart ones. Even if the 96-99% of scientists are wrong about global warming, you have to be 100% of an idiot not to believe that pollution is bad for us. I am OK with my US tax dollars spend to send every idiot truck driver that drives a so called "Rolling Coal" to jail for a weekend or 2.

The only idiot here is you Dino. Eating up the whole Global Warming hype without any idea of what it is about. And you have no idea as to how TDI technology benefited from the Global Warming hype either. Clean diesel was pushed in Europe after EU countries commited to cut CO2 emissions. And TDI technology does that better than any other technology available. I get 48 highway miles pergalon on my tdi. And I use it as my everyday car not because of environmental concerns but because of its fuel efficiency. Now that fuel efficiency comes at the cost of higher NOx emissions when the engine runs at optimum efficiency. VW installed a device that senses when the car is on a test rig running through a inspection protocol and changes the engine control to lower NOx emissions at the expense of performance. When in regular operation engine control gives you optimum performance and fuel efficiency at the expense of higher NOx emissions. That's what the whole circus is about.

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Guest eyoismos

 

"Rather than delay diesel introduction as others, including Honda and Mazda, did, Volkswagen decided to go ahead, but it appears that it was unable to reach emissions targets as it had hoped," Nerad said.

 

"Thus it resorted to the software-hardware combination that deceived the EPA."

Jeff Thinnes, a former vice president for Daimler-Benz, told ABC News that "often these types of major corporate transgressions start with the belief that [a company] may be able to circumvent the law. When time passes and they are not exposed, they get more confident until they reach the feeling of invincibility. It’s about that time when the Tsunami hits.”

 

source: ->Why Volkswagen May Have Risked It All by Allegedly Cheating on Emissions

which only re-enforces the allegation of typical german corporate practices

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Guest eyoismos

You certainly implied a connection with that picture you posted. Did you not?

 

a-SKITSO-640x468.jpg

 

technically this cartoon was first posted in the new york times as an ubber sarcastic reference to VW, and by extension germany and german industry and its practices, and who so often have shaken their finger with false moralistic conviction and double faced ethics at greece

 

so by all accounts , you should throw your "indignation" at them

 

admin simply "re-tweeted" it

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Guest eyoismos

Αποκάλυψη σοκ: 2 χρόνια ήξερε η Κομισιόν το σκάνδαλο Volkswagen

 

Σύμφωνα με τους Financial Times δύο χρόνια ήξερε η Κομισιόν για το λογισμικό - απάτη της Volkswagen. Μάλιστα φέρνουν στο φως έκθεση του 2013 από το Κοινό Κέντρο Ερευνών της Ευρωπαϊκής Επιτροπής για τις παραποιήσεις αποτελεσμάτων στις μετρήσεις για πετρελαιοκίνητα αυτοκίνητα.

 

Δυο χρόνια ήξερε η Κομισιόν για το λογισμικό-απάτη της Volkswagen

 

Αξιωματούχοι της Ε.Ε. είχαν προειδοποιήσει για τους κινδύνους των συστημάτων αναστολής (defeat devices) δύο χρόνια προτού ξεσπάσει το σκάνδαλο ρύπων της Volkswagen, καταδεικνύοντας την αποτυχία της Ευρώπης να αστυνομεύσει την αυτοκινητοβιομηχανία. Έκθεση του 2013 του Κοινού Κέντρου Ερευνών της Ευρωπαϊκής Επιτροπής είχε επιστήσει την προσοχή στις προκλήσεις που έθεταν τα συστήματα αναστολής και πως ήταν σε θέση να παραποιήσουν αποτελέσματα στις μετρήσεις για πετρελαιοκίνητα οχήματα.

Η Volkswagen έχει βρεθεί στο μάτι του κυκλώνα από την περασμένη Παρασκευή όταν οι ρυθμιστικές αρχές των ΗΠΑ αποκάλυψαν ότι ο κατασκευαστής αυτοκινήτων είχε πειράξει τα πετρελαιοκίνητα οχήματα του για να περάσουν τους ελέγχους εκπομπής ρύπων, ανοίγοντας τον δρόμο για την επιβολή κυρώσεων και προστίμων. Η Υπηρεσία Προστασίας του Περιβάλλοντας ανέφερε ότι η VW είχε τοποθετήσει λογισμικό γνωστό ως σύστημα αναστολής, που ενεργοποιούσε τον έλεγχο ρύπων όταν το όχημα βρισκόταν στο εργαστήριο αλλά τον απενεργοποιούσε αμέσως μετά. Το σύστημα σήμαινε ότι τα αυτοκίνητα όταν ήταν στον δρόμο παρήγαγαν ως και 40 φορές περισσότερα διοξείδια του αζώτου από αυτά που επιτρέπουν τα περιβαλλοντικά στάνταρ των ΗΠΑ.

Αρχικά το ενδιαφέρον είχε στραφεί αποκλειστικά σε αυτοκίνητα της Volkswagen στην αγορά των ΗΠΑ. Αλλά η Γερμανία έχει ανακοινώσει πως η εταιρεία έχει κάνει την ίδια παράβαση και στην Ευρώπη. Η έκθεση του 2013 δείχνει πως η Ε.Ε. γνώριζε ότι τα συστήματα μπορούσαν να παραποιήσουν τα αποτελέσματα των τεστ ρύπανσης. Αλλά οι ρυθμιστικές αρχές δεν κατάφεραν στην συνέχεια να κυνηγήσουν το ζήτημα, παρά το γεγονός ότι η τεχνολογία ήταν παράνομη στην Ευρώπη ήδη από το 2007. Αξιωματούχοι της Ε.Ε. ανέφεραν πως δεν έκαναν έρευνα για τον εντοπισμό μιας τέτοιας συσκευής και ότι δεν γνωρίζουν κάποια εθνική αρχή που να έχει εντοπίσει κάποια.

Η αδυναμία των ρυθμιστικών αρχών στην Ε.Ε. να αποκαλύψουν αυτήν την απάτη ρίχνει φως στην μεγάλη δύναμη επιρροής της ευρωπαϊκής αυτοκινητοβιομηχανίας, η οποία έχει επενδύσει τεράστια ποσά στο ντίζελ. Περίπου το 53% των νέων πωλήσεων αυτοκινήτων στην Ε.Ε. είναι ντίζελ, από 10% από τις αρχές της δεκαετίας του 1990.

Η έκθεση του 2013 υποστήριζε ότι τα πετρελαιοκίνητα οχήματα πρέπει να ελέγχονται στον δρόμο και όχι σε εργαστήρια, για να μειώνεται ο κίνδυνος παραποίησης. «Αισθητήρες και ηλεκτρονικά εξαρτήματα στα σημερινά αυτοκίνητα μπορούν να διαγνώσουν την έναρξη ενός τεστ ρύπων στο εργαστήριο» ανέφερε η έκθεση. Οι συσκευές μπορούσαν ακόμα να «ενεργοποιήσουν, να τροποποιήσουν, να καθυστερήσουν ή να απενεργοποιήσουν συστήματα ελέγχου των ρύπων» προειδοποιούσε η έκθεση. Η μετάβαση σε τεστ στους δρόμους θα διασφάλιζε «ότι η χρήση συστημάτων αναστολής θα περιοριστεί όσο το δυνατόν περισσότερο».

Τεστ εκπομπής ρύπων που διενέργησε στο δρόμο το Κοινό Κέντρο Ερευνών «δείχνουν ότι οι εκπομπές διοξειδίων του αζώτου ξεπερνούσαν σημαντικά τα κριτήρια των ρυθμιστικών αρχών» προσέθετε η έρευνα. «Τα υφιστάμενα τεστ που διενεργήθηκαν στο δρόμο καταδεικνύουν τις αδυναμίες της τρέχουσας διαδικασίας». Από τότε που η Ε.Ε. απαγόρευση τα συστήματα αναστολής το 2007, η Ευρωπαϊκή Επιτροπή προσπάθησε να εισάγει νομοθεσία για τον έλεγχο των πετρελαιοκίνητων οχημάτων σε ένα πιο ρεαλιστικό «πραγματικό περιβάλλον».

Υποστηρίζει ότι αυτά τα νέα τεστ θα είναι σε θέση να αντιμετωπίσουν τις επιπτώσεις του παράνομου software.

Ωστόσο, οικολογικές οργανώσεις και μέλη του Ευρωπαϊκού Κοινοβούλιο έχουν διαμαρτυρηθεί ότι οι μεταρρυθμίσεις αυτές έχουν καθυστερήσει για οχτώ χρόνια από το πανίσχυρο λόμπι του ντίζελ. Η Greenpeace διαμαρτυρήθηκε, σύμφωνα με τα διαθέσιμα δημοσιευμένα στοιχεία, ότι οι κατασκευαστές ντίζελ είχαν ξοδέψει ως και 18,5 εκατ. ευρώ για λόμπινγκ στις Βρυξέλλες το 2014, απασχολώντας πάνω από 184 λομπίστες.

«Καθώς εμφανίζονται νέες αποδείξεις ότι η γερμανική κυβέρνηση και η Ευρωπαϊκή Επιτροπή γνώριζαν για το λογισμικό παραποίησης των τεστ, πολλοί θα αναρωτιούνται γιατί έπρεπε να έρθουν οι Αμερικανοί να το αποκαλύψουν. Η έκταση του λόμπινγκ που ασκεί η αυτοκινητοβιομηχανία μπορεί να τους δώσει κάποια στοιχεία για την απάντηση» ανέφερε ο John Sauven, εκτελεστικός διευθυντής της Greenpeace Ηνωμένου Βασιλείου.

Δυο ευρωπαίοι αξιωματούχοι παρατήρησαν ότι δεν υπήρχε τίποτα το νέο σε μεσαίου επιπέδου τεχνικούς που επεσήμαναν τις ανησυχίες τους για τους ελέγχους. Παρά ταύτα, προσπάθειες για ανάληψη δράσης απέναντι σε αυτές τις ανησυχίες ποτέ δεν έτυχαν ιδιαίτερης προσοχής σε ένα περιβάλλον υψηλής πολιτικοποίησης που υπάρχει στην Κομισιόν, είπε ένας εξ αυτών.

Οι αρχές σε όλη την Ευρώπη αποποιούνται την ευθύνη. Η Κομισιόν υποστηρίζει ότι δεν έχει την αρμοδιότητα να επιβάλει στις εθνικές αρχές να αναζητήσουν συστήματα αναστολής. Η Γερμανία, όμως, απαντώντας σε μια ερώτηση για την απάτη στα τεστ, επικαλέστηκε την άποψη της Κομισιόν ότι δεν υπάρχει συμφωνημένη μέθοδος για την αποτροπή της χρήσης παράνομου λογισμικού.

Ο Σουηδός βουλευτής Christofer Fjellner δήλωσε ότι είναι απαράδεκτο οι Βρυξέλλες να ρίχνουν το φταίξιμο αποκλειστικά στα κράτη-μέλη.«Η Κομισιόν είναι υπεύθυνη στο να υπάρχει ένα πλαίσιο ελέγχου που δουλεύει. Ξέρουμε ότι υπάρχουν εταιρείες που δεν δίνουν δεκάρα για τους κανόνες», υποστήριξε.

Εκπρόσωπος της Κομισίον δήλωσε: Η αστυνόμευση αναφορικά με το εάν οι εταιρείες τηρούν την ευρωπαϊκή νομοθεσία και η έρευνα είναι θέμα των εθνικών αρχών. «Καλούμε όλα τα κράτη μέλη να κάνουν έρευνες», υποστήριξε και προσέθεσε ότι ο ρόλος της Κομισιόν είναι να δράσει «ως πλατφόρμα που διευκολύνει την ανταλλαγή πληροφοριών μεταξύ των εθνικών αρχών». Αξιωματούχοι από υπουργεία Μεταφορών και την Κομισιόν θα εξετάσουν το θέμα στις 6 Οκτωβρίου, όταν θα γίνει συζήτηση για την επέκταση των ερευνών πέραν της Volkswagen.

 

 

in, our about greece, they call it political corruption

 

in the big and powerful nations is called lobbying

 

same shit different color, texture or smell

 

but ultimately in the end, the truth starts to come out ..and we have a long way to go before all of it surfaces

 

now why does this remind me of what i maintained about ...oh fuck it ... read what i said about the truth in another thread, cause i couldnt be bothered to find it and put salt in wounds

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technically this cartoon was first posted in the new york times as an ubber sarcastic reference to VW, and by extension germany and german industry and its practices, and who so often have shaken their finger with false moralistic conviction and double faced ethics at greece

 

so by all accounts , you should throw your "indignation" at them

 

admin simply "re-tweeted" it

And by doing so he connects the two issues.

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in, our about greece, they call it political corruption

 

in the big and powerful nations is called lobbying

 

same shit different color, texture or smell

 

but ultimately in the end, the truth starts to come out ..and we have a long way to go before all of it surfaces

 

now why does this remind me of what i maintained about ...oh fuck it ... read what i said about the truth in another thread, cause i couldnt be bothered to find it and put salt in wounds

Do not go comparing Greece to VW. The former is a country of 10 mil with a gdp of 240 bil USD that owes (private and public combined) 740 bil USD and produces absolutely nothing. The later is a corporation that employs 550 thousand people and earns an annual revenue of 230 bil USD and produces 13 bil USD of profits annualy. If VW is forced to pay, they will pay it out of their own pocket while Greece borrows money from the EU tax payers so that it can continue to pay millions of good for nothing moochers their salaries.

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grasping at straws again, i see

 

no problem ...whatever you say

You are being Greek again (meaning stupid). But then again in your neo Ottoman pseudo European culture Yes means No and No means Yes. And this has become self evident over the last 8 months.

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Guest eyoismos

typical .... make the water murky by throwing mud just to hide the evidence presented and misdirect

what is self evident is that you would make a terrific lawyer ... for high profile super rich criminals  ... like VW

 

but carry on ... you seem to get your jollies that way

:P

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Guest eyoismos

 

In a speech this month, America’s deputy attorney-general, Sally Yates, said that from now on, fining businesses would take second place to pursuing criminal and civil charges against individuals. An accused firm will no longer get credit for co-operating with investigations (as VW says it will) unless it gives the feds the names of every manager or employee involved in wrongdoing, and seeks to gather and submit evidence of their personal responsibility.

 

source: -> Dirty secrets

 

its about fucking time that the law went for the real culprits that always seemed to get away with their transgressions

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Sally Yates, said that from now on, fining businesses would take second place to pursuing criminal and civil charges against individuals.

Meaning: Some middle management scapegoats get all the blame and the Corporations walk away with a slap on the wrist. And you understand this to be a good thing! Are you Greek or something?

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Guest eyoismos

carry on  consuming your texan peyote - it obviously allows you to dream up some really wild interpretations

most entertaining

 

however the scapegoating bit is always the greatest fear in the legal system in the states - but history often shows that the scapegoats presented as the culprits, are used to catch the bigger fish

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Guest eyoismos

 

Usually top executives have no ideas about these little innovations that let them deliver on their impossible promises. The CEO of VW currently claims he did not know about the suspect technology installed into all cars. Some might think this is hard to believe, as he is a detailed-oriented engineer. But all too often top managers remain blissfully ignorant of the dirty little secrets that make things work. Often it is in their best interests not to know what is actually going on.

 

Now all this has changed at VW. The technology that switches on and off pollution controls doesn't look so smart anymore.

 

People are asking why such an intelligent company could do something so stupid. The real reason is that sometimes a bit of stupidity pays off for everyone -- at least in the short term. But in the longer term, things can go wrong. Sometimes mistakes such as this come with a small price tag. But at VW, it will cost the company dearly.

 

http://edition.cnn.com/2015/09/23/opinions/spicer-vokswagen/index.html?iref=obinsite

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Guest eyoismos

No let-up for Volkswagen as scandal spreads to Audi

Volkswagen's luxury brand, Audi, said on Monday that 2.1 million of its cars globally have been affected by the emissions scandal that has engulfed the German car manufacturer.

Some 1.42 million Audi vehicles in Western Europe were fitted with the software that allowed parent group Volkswagen to cheat U.S. emissions tests, Audi said on Monday. Almost 13,000 Audi cars in the U.S. and 577,000 in Germany were also impacted.

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Guest PatrickT

I find it amusing that people from a 3rd world country, that produces nothing care so much about a corporations that produces things greece could not produce in 1000 years. Its like people from simbabwe talking about mars rovers and super sonic transport systems.

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Guest PatrickT

What a stupid and ignorant thing to say...

I hope you realize that in this day and age people are allowed to have an opinion for anything and everything.

 

Sure, but worth has the opinion of an australian aboriginal about ion engines of spacecraft Dawn?

 

Face reality...greece is nothing. It produces nothingand never did. Not even olive oil. 

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It may come as a surprise to you, but Greece is the world’s leading producer of sea sponges. True fact!  :) 

 

You must be kidding, No wonder your country is doomed. 

 

It is crazy that our nations exist at the same time on the same continent. Its a difference like night and day.

 

Germany the hypermodern industrial giant. Based on science and technology...and greece...the stoneage nation that is world leading in sea sponges. 

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Another interesting fact is that Athens is the sunniest capital/large city in Europe enjoying 2771 hours of sunshine every year. I don't need to tell you how many hours of sunshine you get in your cities.  :P

No wonder why you guys are so jealous of Greece.  :D

 

In short, you guys can continue producing hypermodern industrial commodities while we'll continue enjoying the sun and the sea. 

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It may come as a surprise to you, but Greece is the world’s leading producer of sea sponges. True fact!  :) 

Greece is actually only the 4rd Largest producer of sea sponges.

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Another interesting fact is that Athens is the sunniest capital/large city in Europe enjoying 2771 hours of sunshine every year. I don't need to tell you how many hours of sunshine you get in your cities.  :P

No wonder why you guys are so jealous of Greece.  :D

 

In short, you guys can continue producing hypermodern industrial commodities while we'll continue enjoying the sun and the sea.

Are you kidding?

Enjoy the dirt ou mean. Just came from Greece and the one thing that struck me is how disgustingly dirty it is. In some places the stink is just unbereable.

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I really don't understand your point. Weren't you in Greece this summer? Why do you keep going back to Greece if you hate it so much there? Give it a rest and stay in Texas which is so much nicer.

 

I thoroughly enjoy the "dirt" of Greece and I'll continue going back year after year to enjoy it.

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I really don't understand your point. Weren't you in Greece this summer? Why do you keep going back to Greece if you hate it so much there? Give it a rest and stay in Texas which is so much nicer.

 

I thoroughly enjoy the "dirt" of Greece and I'll continue going back year after year to enjoy it.

Are you dense? Cause I have family there. My mother still lives there. But I can't just ignore what I see and smell.

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If you hate Greece so much I'm sure your mom could easily visit you in Texas instead. Come on now, you know full well that deep inside you love Greece, that's why you're going back. ;)

 

...and no, I'm not dense.

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Guest eyoismos

πω πω πω πω!

 

δυό φανατικοί λάρτες της Άριας φυλής - τι έκπληξη - αλληλομασάνε τις μουνότριχες της "άλλης" και κάνουν τα πάντα να κατασπαράξουν την ελλάδα ...σε οποιοδήποτε θέμα και ας προκύψει . τόσο μάλιστα που συνέχεις ψηφίζει ο ένας τον άλλον "γουστάρω"

 

και φυσικά αποφέυγουν σα τον διάολο το λιβάνι οποιοδήποτε θέμα και ας προκύψει, και το αλάζουν για συζήτηση γα την ελλάδα

λες και φοβούνται την χώρα μπάς και τους φορέσει το καπέλο ..... και αναρωτιέμαι ...τι φοβούνται που το κάνουν θέμα συνέχεια; μα τι κομπλεξικοί είναι ;

 

περισσότερο αναρωτιέμαι ποιά είναι η τσατσά και ποιά η πουτάνα

 

και ακόμα πιό φυσικά ένα τεράστιο μόκο για το υπο συζήτηση θέμα ... λες και δεν έχουν τίποτε να συνεισφέρουν

ω συγγνώμη.... δεν έχουν .... οπότε ... περιέργως .... χαχαχαχαχα .. το μόνο που έχουν είναι να βλαστημάνε την ελλάδα

 

οποιδήποτε θέμα και ας ξεκινήσουμε .... εκεί οι ηλίθιοι ... ενάντια για την ελλάδα

 

μωρέ καλά λέω συνέχεια ... απόηχοι του '40 -  και επιπλέον λες και μας κρατάνε κακία  που αλλάξαμε την πορεία του πολέμου

 

ω ρε πούτσα που θα φάνε πάλι απο τους αμερικάνους, μιά που είναι μουνία στην νοημοσύνη - διότι η ιστορία έχει μιά περίεργη συνήθεια... της αρέσει να επαναλαμβάνεται  --- και το θέμα υπό τον τίτλο είναι μόνο η αρχή

 

(τώρα πρόσέξτε ποσο γρήγορα θα πιάσουν το αγκίστρι της παραφροσύνης τους)

 

πάντως εγω με ηλίθια ζωντόβολα δεν πρόκειτει να ασχοληθώ άλλο - και καλά θα κανουν οι υπόλοιποι  να κάνουν το ίδιο και να μήν ασχολούντια με την σαβούρα

 

αυτα τα οξύμωρα δεν έχουν την δυνατότητα να θαμπώσουν με λαμπρότητα, συνεπώς καταφεύγουν να βασανιζουν τους πάντες με μαλακίες

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Guest eyoismos

a tad old (august 2009) but very much still relevant
 

Germany's flawed corporate governance

Boards behaving badly

Why the leading citizens of corporate Germany are so scandal-prone
THE streets of Germany's main cities still throng with shoppers; no shops are shuttered. Much credit for that is due to the country's famed industrial champions, which have been model corporate citizens throughout the recession, keeping employees on the payroll and investing for the long-term. Yet many of them are also remarkably scandal-prone. Big companies such as Deutsche Bank, Deutsche Telekom, Deutsche Bahn and Lidl have been caught spying on workers, journalists or board members. Siemens has confessed to bribing customers and MAN is being investigated for the same. At Volkswagen, a manager was caught paying off a member of its supervisory board. Schaeffler and Porsche are in trouble after launching murky, ill-conceived takeovers involving derivatives and mountains of debt. Yet these two seemingly contradictory aspects of German corporate behaviour may be opposite sides of the same coin.
 
One reason why Germany's biggest firms have not cut many jobs is its cherished model of stakeholder capitalism, which took root after the second world war and contributed to its rapid economic growth until the 1980s. Under this model, workers' representatives fill half the seats on firms' supervisory boards. A separate management board is responsible for running the business day to day. Companies are also required to act in the interest of all “stakeholders”, not just of shareholders.
 
That creates a tension between profits and jobs. A seminal, if dated, study is illustrative. It found that 83% of German managers surveyed in 1995 considered that the companies they worked for belonged to stakeholders rather than shareholders. Some 60% said that saving jobs was more important than paying dividends. In America and Britain, by contrast, almost 90% of managers said that paying dividends was more important than preserving jobs and 75% of managers felt that firms belonged to their shareholders.
 
Many Germans see this focus on stakeholders as a strength. Germany's Governance Commission, an official watchdog, decided earlier this year that German corporate governance had “proved its worth during the current crisis”. Involving employees in hard decisions about restructuring can help in a downturn. Firms such as Daimler have cut working hours and pay, with the support of their employees. And IG Metall, Germany's main industrial union, is in talks with several troubled firms about pay cuts for its members in exchange for shares.
German firms are renowned for taking “long-term” decisions. Even as revenues have plunged, Germany's big carmakers, for instance, have kept up spending on research and technology. “Workers' representatives tend to be very entrepreneurial,” says Walter Friederichs of Russell Reynolds Associates, a recruitment firm. “They want to preserve the company for the future.”
 
Yet Germany's system of corporate governance also lends itself to bad behaviour. One problem is the composition of Germany's supervisory boards: a study of Germany's biggest listed firms by Russell Reynolds found that on average their board members were older, had longer tenure, were less likely to have specific industry experience and were far less likely to be foreign than in Europe's other big economies. German supervisory boards are also often unwieldy, with up to 20 members. When the firm's management is included, meetings run to 30 people.
A second problem is the preponderance of family-controlled firms. That leads to a focus on the relationship between minority and controlling shareholders, rather than on the control that shareholders as a whole exercise over managers, says Matteo Tonello, a corporate-governance expert at the Conference Board, a think-tank.
 
Weak oversight of firms, private and public, may have contributed to the recent troubles of leading German firms that have allowed strong managers or controlling shareholders to take on too much risk, says Jörg Rocholl of the European School of Management and Technology in Berlin. One such example is Porsche, which for years resisted demands from the stock exchange to publish quarterly reports (it argued they would reflect badly on it during slow quarters). It is now being taken over by Volkswagen, its erstwhile target in a drawn-out takeover battle, after buckling under the weight of debt and derivatives it took on in a bid to wrest control of VW.
 
In many other countries, failings of corporate governance can often be addressed from the outside by shareholders pressing for change or taking over companies that are performing poorly. But in Germany this sort of activism is restrained by the absence of large, independent institutional investors and by the limited powers granted to activist investors.
 
Much has changed in Germany since the days of Deutschland AG, when banks and big firms had complex cross-holdings that prevented hostile takeovers. Even so, scepticism about shareholders' role in holding managers to account is still deep seated, says Hans Hirt, head of corporate governance at Hermes, a British fund manager with investments in Germany.
 
Hedge funds and private-equity firms are barely tolerated. After activist shareholders led by the Children's Investment Fund, a London hedge fund, forced Deutsche Börse to abandon its bid for the London Stock Exchange in 2005, the government passed laws making it harder for minority shareholders to push reforms. Christopher Hohn, who runs the fund, was labelled a “locust” for his aggressive tactics, and has since given up trying to change the company. Few Germans are likely to do battle in his stead.

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