One third of executives at German DAX 30 companies are migrants

24 August 2018 3 min. read

Boardrooms of German stock listed companies are becoming increasingly international. Of the 194 executives currently in seat in boardrooms of Germany’s DAX 30 companies, almost a third (61) holds a foreign passport, according to a new analysis.

The international consulting firm Simon-Kucher & Partners has calculated that as of July 1, 2018, 30.8% of executives at DAX listed companies are foreign, a similar proportion to the 30.9% recorded the year previous. Despite the small decline, this percentage is significantly higher than when the first edition of the study was held in 2005. Overall, the foreign executives of DAX 30 companies come from 19 different countries, including the USA, Austria, Italy, Sri Lanka.

The companies with highest proportion of migrants in the executive floors are Fresenius Medical Care (83%) and Fresenius (71%). Insurance giant Allianz meanwhile unites the widest blend of nationalities in its management team; three of the ten managers hailing from Germany, two each from Austria and Italy, one each from Spain, South Africa and Sri Lanka.

One third of executives at German DAX 30 companies are migrants

While management positions have become common for individuals arriving from overseas to hold, however, topping a company remains a rarity in DAX companies. Currently, only 6 of the 30 corporations are managed by overseas managers. These are Adidas (Kasper Rorstedt / Denmark), Fresenius Medical Care (Rice Powell / USA), Henkel (Hans van Bylen / Belgium), Linde (Aldo Belloni / Italy), SAP (Bill McDermott / USA) and VW (Herbert Diess / Austria).

At the same time, foreign executives are becoming concentrated in a smaller number of firms. The number of DAX companies which rely exclusively on managers with German roots on the Executive Board has increased from five to six compared to the previous year. These are Commerzbank, Eon, Infineon, Munich Re, RWE and Dax newcomer Covestro.

In terms of improving diversity, having managers with different cultural and life experiences may prove prudent business sense, as companies need to constantly find new ways to adapt to competition. While this argument should be taken with a pinch of salt, as most previously mentioned managers and executives come from relatively similar Western countries, it could still help deliver a competitive edge.

The same is not true of gender balance at top firms, however. As it stands, only 25 of the 194 current executive roles at DAX 30 corporates are held by women, according to Simon-Kucher. On the upside, of the 25 women currently on the DAX Boards, almost half (44%) come from abroad, but more work needs to be done to ensure that businesses become more representative to harness the potential of women in the workforce. This kind of diversity could boost the performance of businesses by as much as 30%.