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Text comes from the book: “Failed Titans: What new managers our world needs” (2015), published by FAZ Verlag, reprinted with the kind permission of the publisher.

Here writes for you:

carsten-knopCarsten Knop is business editor at the Frankfurter Allgmeinen Zeitung. Knop studied business administration at the University of Münster and completed an internship at the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung in 1993. His first editorial position followed his journalistic training in 1995: he went to Düsseldorf for the “Börsen-Zeitung” and in 1996 returned to the Düsseldorf office of the FAZ. After three years of reporting on companies on the Rhine and Ruhr, he went to New York as a business correspondent in May 1999, followed by a move to San Francisco in April 2001 to observe what was happening in “Silicon Valley”. In 2003 he returned to the Frankfurt headquarters, where he has been responsible for corporate reporting since the beginning of 2007 and, since the end of 2014, for economic reporting. Knop is married and has two children.

Exposing liars and manipulators: Klaus Zumwinkel or when managers make mistakes

Again and again you come across lies, loss of trust and manipulation in management. Klaus Zumwinkel's case was a deep one. What is behind it and how did it come to this?


A name that creates trust

Those who thought they knew Klaus Zumwinkel well were described
him as someone who can be trusted. From the conclusion of contracts
there was a handshake. The man was considered one in himself
resting, happy person: without financial or other worries,
healthy, mentally on the ball. Until then, he was also the longest-serving Dax CEO - and one of the last members of the network “Deutschland AG” or “Rhenish Capitalism”.

Zumwinkel had the nickname "Buddha"
registered. In his 18 years of service as CEO
Deutsche Post not only has Zumwinkel at the brand des
Company polished, but also on its own: the people
therefore believed in the “Zumwinkel” brand. He was hers

The end of a networker

This is the only way to explain why Zumwinkel is one of the Germans
Managers were considered to be best networked in politics and business.
Trust is particularly important in such circles. There is often not enough time
to collect and process all information about the counterpart.

You need to set up and describe such networks
staying power: Zumwinkel, for his part, sat on the supervisory board of
Lufthansa AG, but also on the Arcandor / Karstadt supervisory board.

Zumwinkel chaired the Supervisory Board of Deutsche Telekom; At sight
he also led at Postbank and the investment bank Morgan Stanley.
Until the end of 2003, Zumwinkel was on the supervisory board of Allianz,
one of the germ cells of the old Germany AG, represented and up
August 2003 member of the supervisory board of Tchibo Holding AG. About that
he also sat on the board of directors of the Federation of Germans
Employers' associations and was President of the Research Institute
Future of work. This network was the old brand's capital
Zumwinkel. And suddenly it was used up.

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Shocked managers

The shock that this triggered in the German managerial world cannot be big enough
imagine - especially with many who pay their taxes on a comparable basis
Might have evaded away, now the pressing questions over
triggered a voluntary disclosure. Today we know for sure that
That was at least the then Bayern manager Uli Hoeneß
did not make you rethink.

Far too often, double standards are used. This also applies to
the former head of the Post: In his own role as head of the supervisory board
Telekom, on the other hand, had cracked down on Zumwinkel,
when he became the then CEO in November 2006
Ricke sat in front of the door. At that time his reproaches to Ricke were
that past investments would not have paid off
and promises had not been kept.

With two dimensions

Zumwinkel formulated this criticism at the time without adding a feeling of pity
convey. Even without discussing possible tax evasion
That is why the Post's Supervisory Board at Zumwinkel would have long since addressed itself
can measure the criteria that applied to Telekom and Ricke
to have. Zumwinkel's investments in America haven't turned out either
calculated - on the contrary, a withdrawal was imminent for his departure,
who ended an adventure that cost billions of euros.

His promises with a view to the conquest of the American
He did not redeem Markts either. Zumwinkel wanted to go more praiseworthy than Ricke. But all high-ranking politicians he knew were in Cologne-Marienburg on the dark Thursday morning and the day after that they were of no help. The net no longer held.

Nevertheless, the top decision maker for 2008 is the only one to have one
Receive bonus. Such developments in particular have contributed to
that the manager's reputation is so bad. First there is no remorse
in the event of failure, there are high severance payments. In the case of Zumwinkel
it was pension entitlements totaling 20 million euros,
which this could be paid out, plus the bonus payments - more
than 480.000 euros for two months.

From Zumwinkel to Hoeneß

Also the former manager of FC Bayern Munich, Uli Hoeneß,
Years later, his own close-knit network of relationships did not help
more. On the contrary, he faces a three-year prison sentence and
six months to pay for his tax evasion (of which he has been since
At the beginning of 2015, however, most of them were outdoors with a regulated
Work at his football club). Because that
District Court Munich spoke to the President of FC Bayern Munich
in spring 2014 in one of the most spectacular tax proceedings in
Germany guilty in seven cases.

The court classified the voluntary disclosure as incomplete, i.e. not exempting the penalty: The presiding judge said the voluntary disclosure had been made by Hoeneß a good year earlier
had submitted, was "not only unsuccessful, but clearly inadequate"
been. On their basis, the tax office did not
be able to make an estimate once. Hoeneß wear it himself
the blame. His tax advisor doesn't just have “any
Note ”forgot.

Make pure table in time

The court did not accept Hoeneß's assertion that his
Bank should have done all business alone. The Economic Criminal Chamber
put the tax damage at 28,5 million euros.
For the sentence, it does not matter whether further evaluations of the
Bank records from Switzerland should result in even higher amounts.

The court also left open whether the voluntary disclosure came too late
was. The judges assumed that Hoeneß from
Fear of his account being exposed by the magazine “Stern”
even indicated: "You were driven out of fear of discovery."
After all, Hoeneß would have had years of time beforehand, clear the table
close. Indeed: years was finally also at this point in time
the Zumwinkel case back.

Decisions based on intuition

Not infrequently, decisions have to be made based on
Based on intuition. It was in this environment that Klaus Zumwinkel experienced his
Great moments. A wide variety of Federal Chancellors accompanied him
the conversion of the post office from an authority to Company who his
Lifetime achievement is, later the IPO of the Post, then also the
Takeover and the subsequent IPO of Postbank - most recently the
Fight for the highest possible minimum wage that is competitive
makes a profitable mail business in Germany impossible.

Zumwinkel tackled such difficulties - and in his
Senses resolved. He has regained the trust that was placed in him
and confirmed again. He had even started to keep his orderly
Prepare to withdraw from the chairmanship of Deutsche Post.
Which manager already has this foresight? And then the tax investigation rang.

When the tyrant rings once

Then the tax investigation rang at his house in the Cologne district
Marienburg. It was not yet light on this February 14th
2008, when the shiny polished trademark Zumwinkel
laid the shadow of the evil suspicion of tax evasion. His
Zumwinkel had excellent connections in politics
not to protect against this access.

And his numerous manager friends watched the news breathlessly: is he still at his house? Is there an arrest warrant? Is Zumwinkel in one right now
silver police vehicle been picked up? How long will he be with the
Public prosecutor's office in Bochum have to stay? And last but not least: what
exactly did it actually happen?

The biggest mistake of his life

Zumwinkel was a compact disc with customer data from the Princely
Bank in Liechtenstein became the undoing of the German
Authorities had been leaked. On this CD - and many more
should follow - there were names of other rich Germans who
in the following years the number of voluntary disclosures increased
to have. The Zumwinkel case concerned untaxed interest income
on the capital of a foundation in the principality attributable to him
between Switzerland and Austria.

In court it became clear that between 2001 and 2007, Zumwinkel had sneaked a whopping 970.000 euros past the state treasury. After all: Zumwinkel called in court
the tax evasion the "biggest mistake" of his life.
He even reported on "personal threats, letter and telephone terrorism,
House sieges and reenactments ”. The judges had
no pity: In 2008 the regional court in Bochum sentenced Zumwinkel
to 24 months probation and a fine in
Amount of one million euros. But Zumwinkel no longer wanted to live in Germany, he has since moved to London.

The scope of the decision is misjudged

Zumwinkel already had another mistake a few weeks ago
the house search committed. It would be a mere 4,73 million
Euros that the Post boss redeemed from a share sale, his
Time missed any tact. Recently
was the share price of the Post due to the political decision to introduce it
the fairly high minimum wage has risen sharply, reflecting the value
which had risen sharply. At the same time it was also clear
that the minimum wage of many employees of private competitors
Post would cost their place.

In this situation Zumwinkel was -
allegedly or actually - “the scope of the decision is not
conscious ”, as he admitted after the stock business became known.
You could then also do that for dealing with money in Liechtenstein
accept. Zumwinkel not only became the first board member
of a company that is represented with its shares in the Dax share index
who was taken away by the police in front of the cameras.

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2 responses to “exposing liars and manipulators: Klaus Zumwinkel or when managers make mistakes”

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