2017 really is moving quickly and I get the feeling that I am only going to be saying that more as the year progresses. This is reflected in the breadth of topics I have been delving into at FNF. CEO and board remuneration packages are increasingly coming under huge public scrutiny in Germany, as within most markets. The solution however, needs to ensure that any additional means of control is left in the hands of shareholders and not in some way mandated through legislation that does nothing to consider the strategic or competitive decisions of company management.
The call for increased shareholder ‘say on pay’ in periods of performance stagnation or decline, that are matched with increased remuneration, is justifiable. Whilst broader stakeholder engagement should be a well-used aspect of any successful company’s repertoire, arbitrarily selected and mandated remuneration ceilings will do nothing but limit a company’s capacity to act strategically and competitively in global markets. This would thereby limit the growth potential of both the company and the jobs it creates.
Another key topic this week has been the World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting in Davos, Switzerland. This year’s opening plenary speech came from the People’s Republic of China’s President, Xi Jinping. He spoke on the need for freer trade, increased globalisation and more responsive leadership, which are some key intentions of the WEF. Though, it is a surprising turn of global affairs when these words come from China’s first Presidential appearance at the Annual Meeting and on the backdrop of the inauguration of US President Donald Trump, who won his campaign with alarmingly protectionist rhetoric. What the end goal or net economic effects of either leader will be is still yet to be seen.
Touching on a range of issues throughout the working week keeps things interesting. Though so do the many lively street markets in Berlin. I was surprised to find that many of them do stay open through the winter months, so I spent part of the weekend searching for hidden treasures and quirky gifts. All in all, another enjoyable week!