Pressure on Bayer continues to grow: public criticism from domestic shareholders

D├ťSSELDORF (dpa-AFX) – At the pharmaceutical and agrochemical group Bayer, the pressure from shareholders is increasing. After various statements by Anglo-Saxon investors, representatives of German addresses are now also critical. Markus Manns, a manager at Union Investment, would welcome the early replacement of CEO Werner Baumann. “When it comes to CEO succession, the earlier the better! As soon as a suitable candidate has been found, Mr. Baumann will certainly not resist an early handover,” he told the “Rheinische Post” (Tuesday edition).

He further emphasized: “An external successor would have the charm of being able to analyze Bayer’s problems impartially and could bring a breath of fresh air into the organization.” Baumann’s contract runs until April 2024.

On the other hand, Manns rejects another demand from investors: “As long as the glyphosate legal disputes have not been finally settled, a split makes no sense.” According to a statement by the Bloomberg news agency, Union Investment currently holds just under one percent of Bayer. “In principle, both business units could also exist independently of each other,” Manns continued. “In this case, however, Bayer Pharma would quickly be swallowed up by a larger player, so that we would then rather be talking about breaking up Bayer.”

In the same newspaper, the general manager of the German Protection Association for Securities Ownership (DSW), Marc T├╝ngler, advocated Baumann’s premature departure even more clearly: “I assume that there will be a name before the general meeting in spring. The or Werner Baumann has to replace the new one early. Baumann cannot be a boss on call until April 2024, Bayer cannot afford that,” he said. “The group needs a strong CEO quickly – preferably not a financial expert, but a woman or a man like Marijn Dekkers with a scientific background.”

T├╝ngler also prefers an outside manager to succeed the current CEO. “It’s absolutely clear: the new Bayer boss has to be an outsider, otherwise Bayer won’t come to rest,” he said. Any internal candidate would have the taint of being a potential Keeper. “What Bayer needs now is a fresh start and an honest, unbiased look at the line-up.” The supervisory board also knows that the demands of the hedge funds are just saber rattling, the DSW representative criticized some investors./he/ngu

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