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Kosterman, Ron

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Elsevier - Netherlands | 28/07/2009

Influence of shareholders should not be curtailed

The Dutch government wants to limit the influence of shareholders on company management to prevent so-called predatory capitalism. It plans to limit their right of appeal and force them to reveal their intentions. The right-wing-liberal weekly Elsevier criticises these plans: "Is it not the case that it was precisely the short-term thinking they were forced to engage in by shareholders that got the banks into trouble? ... No, it has more to do with the banker's pursuit of bonuses, and shareholders still have very little to say about precisely this reward structure. ... It would not be a bad thing per se if shareholders were to reveal their intentions early on. They, too, are required to be open and honest. But the cabinet seems to want to return to the time ... when managers and supervisory boards, supported by a few major shareholders, could do business undisturbed. That is undesirable. It is not wrong to subject managers to the discipline of the investors. Managers who do their job well have nothing to fear."

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