Written by: Sandy Williams
Dr. Gerhard Cromme is resigning as Chairman of the ThyssenKrupp Supervisory Board effective March 31. Cromme, 70, has held the post for 12 of his 27 years with ThyssenKrupp.
The resignation has been called for by shareholders angry over the Board’s investment disaster with Steel Americas.
“I want to support a renewal regarding the Supervisory Board,” said Cromme in a press release. “Over the last 200 years the company has always successfully overcome several critical situations and I am convinced it will be the same this time. I will remain strongly attached to the company and its employees.”
ThyssenKrupp has been trying to recover from a series of financial blunders and corruption scandals that has led to a shakeup in its executive and supervisory boards.
“It’s a good day for the shareholders,” said Trudbert Merkel, who is responsible for Deka Investment GmbH’s 0.78 percent stake in ThyssenKrupp, in a statement to Bloomberg. “It’s a logical conclusion. He’s taking responsibility for the investment disaster with Steel Americas.”
PR headaches continue for ThyssenKrupp
While the steel industry holds its breath in anticipation of the winning bid for Steel Americas, the public relations nightmare continues for ThyssenKrupp.
In 2011, Harald Espenhahn, former CEO of ThyssenKrupp’s Italian division was convicted of homicide in the deaths of seven workers in a fatal fire at the Turin plant in 2007 and sentenced to 16.5 years in prison. Four other managers convicted of manslaughter received prison sentences of 13.5 years and a fifth received a 10 year sentence. It was the first time work-related deaths led to a murder charge and conviction in Italy.
Last week judges in Turin reduced Espenhahn’s sentence to 10 years along with sentence reductions for the other five convicted managers. The decision was met with anger and an impromptu sit-in by family members of the victims.
Meanwhile in Germany, Federal Cartel Office authorities raided offices of ThyssenKrupp Steel Europe in Duisburgs and companies elsewhere in Germany as part of an investigation into antitrust violations in deals concerning semi-finished products and strip steel supplied to the automotive industry.
The ThyssenKrupp press release said antitrust violations are not tolerated in the Group. Dr Heinrich Hiesinger, Chairman of the Executive Board of ThyssenKrupp states clearly: “ThyssenKrupp employs a “zero tolerance” policy. If the allegations are substantiated in the ongoing investigations, we will take rigorous action.”
Dr. Hiesinger continued: “We on the Executive Board expect all managers to ensure business processes are conducted in a proper manner in their area of responsibility and to stay alert and act. We are in the process of implementing a full-scale change to the leadership culture at ThyssenKrupp. I take this very seriously. Anyone who doesn’t cooperate has no business working for us.”
Sandy WilliamsRead more from Sandy Williams
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