The Neues Rathaus (New Town Hall) in Marienplatz, in Munich

The D&O Diary’s sojourn in Germany continued last week with travel to Nuremburg and Munich. The same wonderful late spring weather that we  had enjoyed the week before in Frankfurt followed us as we continued our travels in Germany.
Continue Reading Munich and Nuremberg

Frank Hülsberg
Burkhard Fassbach

Regular readers know that I post frequently on this site on whistleblower-related topics. However, my discussion of whistleblower-related topics is generally focused on whistleblowing in the U.S. There have been significant recent whistleblower-related developments outside the U.S. For example, and as discussed in detail in the following guest post, a draft whistleblower protection act is now circulating in Germany. If adopted the new act could have significant implications, as discussed below. This guest post was written by Frank Hülsberg, who is a Chartered Accountant and Tax Advisor in Düsseldorf, Partner Advisory and Member of the Executive Board at Grant Thornton AG Wirtschaftsprüfungsgesellschaft in Germany, and Burkhard Fassbach, a D&O-lawyer in private practice in Germany.  I would like to thank Frank and Burkhard for allowing me to publish their article on this site. I welcome guest post submissions from responsible authors on topics of interest to this site’s readers. Please contact me directly if you would like to submit a guest post. Here is Frank and Burkhard’s article.
Continue Reading Guest Post: What Board Members Need to Know About the New German Whistleblower Protection Act

In 1520, the nearly-50-year-old German artist Albrecht Dürer travelled to the Low Countries. The Holy Roman Emperor Maximillian I had just died, and his grandson Charles V was about to be crowed in Aachen as his successor. Dürer, both fleeing plague in his hometown of Nuremberg and seeking to confirm with the new emperor the continuation of his pension, roamed widely for more than a year throughout what is now the Netherlands and Belgium. Dürer meticulously recorded his experience and observations in a journal that miraculously (and fortunately for us) has survived. As memorialized in the journal, the curiosity that guided Dürer’s path was frequently rewarded; among other things, he was among the first to see the incredible first shipment of Aztec treasures that Hernán Cortés shipped back to Europe from his first voyage to Mexico as they were unloaded in Antwerp.
Continue Reading Sunday Arts: Albert and the Whale

Michael Hendricks
Burkhard Fassbach

As I discussed in a blog post at the time, in June 2021 VW announced that a settlement had been reached in the D&O liability action that had been filed against the company’s executives in connection with the “Dieselgate” scandal. The settlement, which had an aggregate value of approximately $351 million, was approved by VW shareholders in July 2021. However, minority shareholders have now filed a legal action against VW in an effort to oppose the settlement. In the following guest post, Michael Hendricks and Burkhard Fassbach review the minority shareholders’ legal action and discuss its implications. Michael is the founder of the German D&O specialist broker hendricks GmbH and Burkhard is a D&O-lawyer in private practice in Germany. I would like to thank Michael and Burkhard for allowing me to publish their article as a guest post on this site. I welcome guest post submissions from responsible authors on topics of interest to this blog’s readers. Please contact me directly if you would like to submit a guest post. Here is Michael and Burkhard’s article.
Continue Reading Guest Post: VW Dieselgate: Minority Shareholders File Suit Against D&O Settlement

Volkswagen, several former executives –including Martin Winterkorn, the former Chair of the company’s Board of Management–  and the company’s D&O insurers have reached an agreement to settle damages claims the company asserted against the executives relating to the company’s “Dieselgate” scandal. In March 2021, following a years-long investigation of the scandal by an outside law firm, the company filed the claims, in which the executives were alleged to have breached their duties to the company. The settlement, worth in the aggregate approximately $351 million in U.S. dollar terms, includes substantial payments both by the individual executives and by the company’s D&O insurers. The D&O insurers’ contribution reflects a separate settlement between the company and its insurers with respect to insurance coverage issues. A copy of VW’s June 9, 2021 press release describing the settlement can be found here.
Continue Reading Former Execs, Insurers Settle VW Dieselgate D&O Liability Claims

Berlin Cathedral

The D&O Diary was on assignment in northern Europe last week, with stops in Berlin, Hamburg, and Paris. I know from past experience that traveling in northern Europe in January can be a formidable experience. On this trip, however, mild and dry weather conditions generally prevailed, allowing for some really pretty enjoyable travel experiences.
Continue Reading January in Northern Europe

Frank Hülsberg
Burkhard Fassbach

In the following guest post, Frank Hülsberg, a Partner for Governance, Risk, Compliance & Technology at Warth & Klein Grant Thornton AG in Düsseldorf, and Burkhard Fassbach, a D&O-lawyer in private practice in Germany, take a look at the EU’s new Whistleblower Directive. I would like to thank Frank and Burkhard for allowing me to publish their article. I welcome guest post submissions from responsible authors on topics of interest to this site’s readers. Please contact me directly if you would like to submit a guest post. Here is Frank and Burkhard’s article.
Continue Reading Guest Post: The European Union Whistleblower Directive: Overdue Protective Shield

Luxembourg City

The D&O Diary finished its European itinerary last week with a visit to Frankfurt for an event there, followed by a weekend stopover in Luxembourg before heading home. The pleasant weather I  enjoyed earlier in the week in Switzerland abandoned me in Frankfurt, where it rained, but the nice weather reappeared just in time for my weekend visit in Luxembourg. As the pictures below reflect, the pleasant spring weather was just about ideal for my first ever visit to Luxembourg.
Continue Reading Frankfurt and Luxembourg

A German village along the Rhine, north of Düsseldorf

The D&O Diary was on assignment in Germany for meetings this past week, with four stops on a crowded itinerary. I have been to Germany during the winter months many times before and I have learned that the weather can be OK or it can be lousy. But nothing in my prior experience prepared me for the weather this past week, which, with the exception of one gloomy day, was really pretty spectacular, at least for this time of the year.
Continue Reading Four Cities in Germany