Bayer investors re-elect Winkeljohann as board chairman

FRANKFURT, April 28 (Reuters) – Bayer (BAYGn.DE) Chairman Norbert Winkeljohann on Friday comfortably won a re-election vote at the drugmaker’s annual shareholder meeting with an approval rate of 79.6%.

Germany’s three biggest asset management groups earlier said they would not vote for his renewed term at Bayer because of his numerous other board commitments.

An ouster of Winkeljohann, who won wide investor praise for securing former Roche executive Bill Anderson as Bayer’s CEO-designate, would have sparked upheaval at the healthcare and agriculture group, which has attracted activist shareholders and is facing costly litigation.

DWS (DWSG.DE), Union Investment and Deka Investment, who according to Refinitiv data hold a combined 3.8% in Bayer, had said separately they would not vote for the supervisory board chairman.

Major shareholder advisory firms Glass Lewis and Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS), for their part, have said they would back Winkeljohann.

Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund Temasek (TEM.UL), a major shareholder in Bayer, would also vote for Winkeljohann, German magazine WirtschaftsWoche reported this month.

Winkeljohann said he had enough time to supervise Bayer.

“I don’t see any reason at the moment to reduce my board mandates,” he added.

Winkeljohann is also Deutsche Bank’s (DBKGn.DE) deputy chairman, chairman at unlisted wholesale trade groups Sievert SE and Bohnenkamp AG as well as a board member at steelmaker Georgsmarienhuette GmbH.

The AGM is the last for Bayer CEO Werner Baumann, who steps down in June. He said on Friday that the company was in a very good strategic position, while also acknowledging that its stock market value was too low.

Shareholders delivered an approval vote of only 52% for the company’s management remuneration system.

Winkeljohann had earlier pledged to review the scheme over the next 12 months and said the company cannot be satisfied with the thin majority of the vote.

Reporting by Ludwig Burger; editing by Matthias Williams

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Source: Reuters