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Supervisory board overview

2023 Germany Spencer Stuart Board Index

2023 Snapshot


average number of supervisory board members

 37 %

of supervisory board members are women

 80 %

of new male supervisory board members are first-time directors, vs 17% of women

Supervisory boards among the DAX 40 range in size from 10 to 20 members. The average size (including at those companies subject to co-determination) is 15, up very slightly from the 14 recorded in the 2020 Board Index.

80% of the DAX 40 companies under review are subject to co-determination. Even so, employee representation on supervisory boards is waning. In 2015, for example, all supervisory boards of the DAX 30 companies were subject to co-determination rules. Among the current DAX 40 companies under review, only 32 are subject to co-determination legislation (compared to 26 within the DAX 30 in the 2020 Board Index).

The proportion of first-time supervisory board directors is rising. 80% of new male supervisory board directors are first-timers, alongside the 17% of new female supervisory board directors who are first-timers.

Gender diversity

Parity-based boards of listed companies subject to co-determination rules must comply with a 30% gender quota when electing members to the supervisory board. The quota became law in 2016 and must be met by the full board, unless either the shareholder or employee representatives side disagree prior to the election. This exception does not apply to the Societas Europaea (SE).

Among the Dax 40 (including those companies not subject to the quota law), on average women occupy around 37% of full board seats (shareholder and employee representatives),  which is a 5.7% increase since 2021. Women account for at least 30% of seats in 36 companies (or 90% of the boards), compared to 35 companies or 88% in 2021. Seven companies exactly meet the 30% quota (compared to five in 2021).

The lowest recorded proportion of female board members in 2022 is 10%, seen at Porsche Automobil Holding, followed by 20% each at Linde and Siemens Healthineers. None of these companies is subject to the quota law. The largest proportion of female board members recorded is 55.6%, seen at both Hannover Rück SE and Zalando SE. The latter company is exempt from the quota law.

Rounding up according to mathematical principles is permitted by law.