For approximately one and a half decades, the Daimler Critical Shareholders (KAD) have criticized the rip-off mentality at the top of Daimler AG. This is manifested in wildly excessive salary and pension payments and pension obligations.
The Supervisory Board is responsible for these exorbitantly high payments. Most of them originated in decisions made in the era of Board of Management Chairman Jürgen E. Schrempp. The then DaimlerChrysler Board of Management Chairman argued in the nineties that the Group must advance to the top of the automobile manufacturers worldwide and that executive pay must therefore reach US levels in order to be internationally competitive.
The »marriage made in heaven" promised by Schrempp with the acquisition of Chrysler degenerated into a »disaster on earth." The then head of the Group failed miserably with his vision of the Number 1. The Daimler disaster subsequently led to a massive loss of image and dramatic job reductions, and ultimately cost the company's owners many millions. That money has been missing in recent years for example to make the fleet of vehicles more ecological.
Irrespective of all that, Jürgen E. Schrempp apparently still receives payments of millions and numerous additional benefits. The legacy of the Schrempp era still includes the unreasonably high Schrempp level of remuneration of the top management at Daimler AG.
Above all, Board of Management Chairman Dieter Zetsche received – not: »earned"! – 8.30 million euros, CFO Bodo Uebber 3.65 million euros and head of trucks Andreas Renschler 3.44 million euros in 2012. In total, the seven members of the Board of Management received more than 28 million euros (Hubertus Troska, the eighth member of the Board of Management and responsible for China, has only been in office since December 13, 2012).
Quite understandably, the Supervisory Board extended the contract of Board of Management Chairman Dieter Zetsche in February 2013 for only three years. The employee side of the Supervisory Board is to be thanked for this decision. In this sense, this motion not to ratify the actions of the members of the Supervisory Board is directed against the shareholders' side of the Supervisory Board.
Dieter Zetsche's statement that he sees no reason to reconsider his management style despite the criticism shows how unwilling to learn he is. »Those are individual opinions," stated Zetsche at the Geneva Motor Show (see »Süddeutsche Zeitung« of March 6, 2013). So it is even more annoying that Zetsche's inadequate executive performance in no way resulted in a significant reduction in salary. On the contrary, the head of the Group received the same basic salary in 2012 as in 2011 with total remuneration of more than 8 million euros.
Such remuneration paid to members of the Board of Management of Daimler AG cannot be justified in any way, because the self-imposed target for operating profit was not achieved in 2012, unit sales and financial statements are in no way convincing compared with premium competitors Audi and BMW, increased use of temporary workers continues to be the Group's strategy, the product range still includes civil and military vehicles (Mercedes Military) as well as the production of civil and military engines (equity interest in Tognum AG) and the production and export of fighter planes, military helicopters and carrier systems for atomic weapons (equity interest in EADS N.V.).
In view of the failure and also of the commensurateness of work, performance and remuneration, the salaries of the Board of Management members of Daimler AG must be drastically reduced. In order to finally put an end to the gravy-train mentality at the Board of Management level, the Daimler Critical Shareholders (www.kritischeaktionaere.de) demand that the complete remuneration and pension payments for the Chairman may not exceed twenty times the average salary of a Daimler employee.
A referendum in Switzerland shows how controversial exorbitant remuneration – with amounts by the way of up to and over 100 million – is seen in a social context. In March 2013, two thirds of the voters voted for the »People's Initiative against the Gravy Train." The Political Barometer of Germany's second state television channel (ZDF) found out in the same month that 93% <!> of all persons surveyed consider the salaries of bankers and corporate executives to be excessive.
When will the Daimler Supervisory Board finally act?«