Infineon Revolt Becomes Governance Test Case

by Neil Baker, for Compliance Week, January 25, 2010.

The battle between German electronics company Infineon and rebel shareholders is rapidly turning into a test case of the country’s corporate governance practices, with more shareholders now opposing the company’s choice of supervisory board chairman.

Infineon has run into trouble over its desire to appoint Klaus Wucherer to chair its supervisory board. Wucherer has been a director of the company since 1999; Hermes, a U.K. activist investor, has started a campaign against his chairmanship, arguing a more independent candidate was needed.

The Hermes campaign is the first time that an institutional investor has tried to force out a senior director of a big German company. Two other large institutions, Legal & General and Bank of New York Mellon, have now joined the attack, backing proposals to appoint an alternative candidate, Willi Berchtold, director of auto components company ZF Friedrichshafen…(continue reading)

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