More than 500 employees must appoint a supervisory board
Any company with more than 500 employees must appoint a supervisory
The supervisory board is a separate body made up of non-executive
directors. This body has responsibility for the supervision of the executive
board, monitoring financial reporting and the appointment of directors and
auditors on behalf of the shareholders. If the employees number between 500
and 2,000, one-third of the seats on the supervisory board fall to the
representatives of the employees. The remaining two-thirds are elected by the
shareholders. If the employees number more than 2,000, the supervisory board
comprises 12 seats. This rises to 16 where there are at least 10,000 employees
and to 20 where the number of employees exceeds 20,000. In each of these
three cases, half of the seats fall to the shareholders and the other half to the
representatives of the employees including delegates from the trade union. This
principle of “parity of employee co-determination” is slightly undermined,
except in the steel industry, by the rule giving the chairman of the supervisory
board a second, casting vote in the event of a tie.
The chairman is elected by the representatives of the shareholders from one of their number, unless the full
board elects both chairman and deputy chairman with a two-thirds majority.
The office of deputy-chairman then falls to the employees. However, the deputy
has only a single vote.