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German Law Journal

[Vol. 11 No. 02

particular focus on the supervisory board.3 The familiar quotation of the “corporate law reform in permanency”4 is resounded throughout the land. In this regard, the paper shows on the one hand how the efficiency of the German supervisory board has been significantly improved in the last decade. On the other hand, this paper addresses some major critical points of today’s supervisory board system.

The reformation of the supervisory board was accomplished through several legislative steps, beginning with the Gesetz zur Kontrolle und Transparenz im Unternehmensbereich (Law on Control and Transparency of Enterprises) as of 19985 and the Gesetz zur weiteren Reform des Aktien‐ und Bilanzrechts, zu Transparenz und Publizität (Law on Transparency and Disclosure) as of 20026. Furthermore, the German Corporate Governance Code (GCGC) as of 2002 including its most important amendments in 2005 and 2007, in particular, refined the German corporate governance system with a specific emphasis on the independence of supervisory board members7 and the creation of supervisory board committees8. Both developments are evidence for the current tendency of the one‐tier and the two‐tier system to converge. Recently in 2009, the reform process continued with enactments of the Gesetz zur Modernisierung des Bilanzrechts (Accounting Law Reform

80 HARVARD LAW REVIEW (HARV. L. REV.) 23, 50‐53, 61‐62 (1966). For a modern overview, see, Klaus J. Hopt, The German Two‐Tier Board: Experience, Theories, Reforms, in COMPARATIVE CORPORATE GOVERNANCE: THE STATE OF THE ART AND EMERGING RESEARCH 227‐258 (Klaus J. Hopt et al. eds., 1998); Klaus J. Hopt & Patrick C. Leyens, Board Models in Europe – Recent Developments of Internal Corporate Governance Structures in Germany, the United Kingdom, France, and Italy, 1 EUROPEAN COMPANY AND FINANCIAL LAW REVIEW (ECFR), 135, 141‐146 (2004); Udo C. Brändle & Jürgen Noll, The Power of Monitoring, 5 GERMAN LAW JOURNAL (GLJ) 1349, 1353‐1360 (2004). For a broader comparison, see, e.g., Mark J. Roe, Some Differences in Corporate Structure in Germany, Japan, and the United States, 102 YALE LAW JOURNAL (YALE L. J.) 1927‐1997 (1993); John W. Coiffi, Corporate Governance Reform, Regulatory Politics, and the Foundations of Finance Capitalism in the United States and Germany, 7 GLJ 533‐561 (2006).

2 See, RUDOLF WIETHÖLTER, INTERESSEN UND ORGANISATION DER AKTIENGESELLSCHAFT IM DEUTSCHEN UND AMERIKANISCHEN RECHT 35 (1961); KARSTEN SCHMIDT, GESELLSCHAFTSRECHT 761 (4th ed., 2002); JAN LIEDER, DER AUFSICHTSRAT IM WANDEL DER ZEIT 35 (2006). For an early comparison of German corporation law institutions with the American corporate law practice Id. Vagts, 23‐89. See also, Detlev F. Vagts, The European System, 27 BUSINESS LAWYER (BUS. LAW.), 165‐ 171 (Special Issue, February 1972); Don Berger, Shareholder Rights under the German Stock Corporation Law of 1965, 38 FORDHAM LAW REVIEW (FORDHAM L. REV.), 687‐742 (1970). With regard to the theoretical foundation of German corporate law, see, Thomas Raiser, The Theory of Enterprise Law in the Federal Republic of Germany, 36 AMERICAN JOURNAL OF COMPARATIVE LAW (AM. J. COMP. L.), 111‐129 (1988).


See, Marcus Lutter, Professionalisierung des Aufsichtsrats, 62 DER BETRIEB (DB) 775 (2009); Id. LIEDER, 35.

4 Wolfgang Zöllner, Aktienrechtsreform in Permanenz – Was wird aus den Rechten des Aktionärs?, 39 DIE AKTIENGESELLSCHAFT (AG) 336 (1994); Ulrich Seibert, Aktienrechtsreform in Permanenz?, 47 AG 417 (2002).


See, section B of this paper.


See, section C of this paper.


See, section D of this paper.


See, section E of this paper.

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