The deep case of Klaus Zumwinkel: When managers make mistakes


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Those who thought they knew Klaus Zumwinkel well described him as a person whom one could trust. From contracts by handshake was the speech. The man was considered to be a self-contained, happy person: without financial and other worries, healthy, mentally outgoing. The deep case of Klaus Zumwinkel: If managers make mistakes dhl

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Here writes for you: Carsten Knop is an economics editor at the Frankfurter Allgmeinen Zeitung. Profile

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A name that creates trust

Overview

That had Zumwinkel the nickname "Buddha" registered. During his 18 years as Chief Executive Officer of Deutsche Post, Zumwinkel not only polished the company's brand but also its own: People believed in the "Zumwinkel" brand. He was the man of her trust.

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This is the only way to explain why Zumwinkel was considered one of the German managers who were best connected in politics and business. Trust is important in such circles. There is often a lack of time to collect and process all information about the other party.

Decisions based on intuition

Overview

Not infrequently, decisions based on intuition must be made. In this environment, Klaus Zumwinkel experienced his best moments. Different chancellors accompanied with him the conversion of the post office from a public agency to Companywhich is his lifetime achievement, later the post office of the post office, then also the takeover and the later IPO of the Postbank - last the fight for a highest possible minimum wage, which makes the competitors a profitable letter business in Germany impossible.

Zumwinkel has tackled such difficulties - and solved in his sense. He has confirmed the trust placed in him again and again. He had even begun to prepare his orderly withdrawal from the post of CEO of Deutsche Post. Which manager already has this foresight? And then the tax investigation went off.

When the tyrant rings once

Overview

Then the tax investigation went off at his house in the Cologne district of Marienburg. It was not yet light on this 14. February in the year 2008, as put on the bright polished trademark Zumwinkel the shadow of the suspicion of tax evasion. His excellent connections to politics did not protect Zumwinkel from this access.

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And his numerous manager friends followed the news breathless: Is he still in his house? Is there a warrant? Has Zumwinkel just been picked up in a silver police car? How long will he have to stay with the prosecutor in Bochum? And last but not least: what exactly happened?

The biggest mistake of his life

Overview

Zumwinkel had become a compact disc with customer data of the Princely Bank in Liechtenstein to the fate, which had been leaked to the German authorities. On this CD - and many more should follow - there were names of other rich German, which in the following years have pushed up the number of self-reports. In the case of Zumwinkel, it was about untaxed interest income on the attributable capital of a foundation in the Principality between Switzerland and Austria.

In court, it became clear to Zumwinkel that in the years from 2001 to 2007, a staggering 970.000 Euro had swam past the state treasury. After all, in court Zumwinkel called the tax evasion the "biggest mistake" of his life. He even reported "personal threats, correspondence and telephone terror, house sieges and reenactments". The judges had no pity: In the year 2008 sentenced the district court Bochum Zumwinkel 24 months in prison on probation and a fine of one million euros. Zumwinkel, however, did not want to live in Germany anymore, he has since moved to London.

The scope of the decision is misjudged

Overview

Zumwinkel committed another mistake a few weeks before the house search. Since it would be ridiculous 4,73 million euros, which the post office boss released from a stock sale, whose time missed any intuition. Shortly before that, Post's share price had risen sharply as a result of the political decision to introduce the rather high minimum wage, which had significantly increased the value of the shares. At the same time, it was also clear that the minimum wage would cost many employees of private competitors of Swiss Post their job.

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In this situation, Zumwinkel was - allegedly or actually - "unaware of the scope of the decision", as he acknowledged at the time when the stock market became known. That could then also be accepted for dealing with the money in Liechtenstein. So Zumwinkel was not only the first board of a company, which is represented with its shares in the stock index Dax, which was led away from the police in front of cameras.


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