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Some are more equal than others

German business executives are prickly about declaring their annual income in their company's annual report, arguing disingenuously that it promotes envy in the country's notoriously egalitarian society.

Remuneration reports are scanty compared with their British counterparts though it's known that Josef Ackermann Dr. Josef Ackermann (born February 7, 1948) is a Swiss banker.

He has been Board Member of Deutsche Bank since 1996 and its CEO and Chairman of the Executive Committee since 2002.

Ackermann is a graduate of the University of St. Gallen (HSG).
, Deutsche Bank Deutsche Bank AG (IPA: /'dɔɪ.tʃə/[1]) (ISIN: DE0005140008, NYSE: DB) (English: German Bank  chief executive, earns €15m (£10.47m) or so, only outdistanced by the (undeclared) annual income of Wendelin Wiedeking Dr. Ing. Wendelin Wiedeking (August 28, 1952 in Ahlen, Germany) is (since 1991) member of the executive committee, (since 1992) the executive committee speaker, and (since 1993) the CEO of Porsche AG. , the Porsche boss eyeing a Volkswagen takeover.

Now BASF BASF Bar Association of San Francisco (since 1872; San Francisco, California)
BASF Badische Anilin und Soda Fabrik (German chemical products company)
BASF Builders Association of South Florida
, a comparative paragon in reporting on executive bonuses and stock options, has gone one further: it's just published details of the earnings of members of its works council Noun 1. works council - (chiefly Brit) a council representing employer and employees of a plant or business to discuss working conditions etc; also: a committee representing the workers elected to negotiate with management about grievances and wages etc  after reports that they, often trade union officials, were coining up to €250,000 a year.

The world's biggest chemicals company says that half of the works council's 53 members earn between €40,000 and €60,000 a year, about 20 earn between €60,000 and €80,000 and a handful between €100,000 and €150,000.

Nicht schlecht. But not that much more than normal employees — unless it's Robert Oswald, the group works council chairman, who says the report about huge salaries is rubbish. Under Germany's co-determination system guaranteeing employee representatives half the seats on the board, he also acts as BASF deputy chairman — and earned €278,600 in that capacity alone last year. He can expect even more this year as BASF heads for record earnings.

Still, it hardly compares with the €4.35m earned in salary and bonuses last year by Jürgen Hambrecht, BASF chief executive — not counting the options he was granted. But, with the entire post-war Mitbestimmung (employee participation) system under scrutiny and Wiedeking out to smash it at VW/Porsche, worth enjoying while it lasts.

France fears the Reding Reding may refer to: People
  • Jaclyn Reding (b. 1966), American novelist
  • John Randall Reding (1805-1892), U.S. Representative
  • Jörg Alois Reding (b. 1951), Swiss Ambassador
  • Nick Reding (b.

The ways of Brussels are opaque at the best of times. Neelie Kroes Neelie Kroes (born July 19, 1941 in Rotterdam, Zuid-Holland) is a Dutch politician and businessperson.

Neelie Kroes was a Member of Parliament in the Netherlands for the People's Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD).
, the EU competition commissioner who helped change Microsoft's entire business model, has trained her guns on the huge continental energy groups. She wants to break them up, forcing them to sell off or park their transmission systems as a way of bringing competition and lower prices. But she is, behind the scenes, lobbying ferociously against plans by her colleague Viviane Reding to do something similar to incumbent telecoms groups.

Ms Reding, media and IT commissioner, has been convinced by the example of BT, the former British monopoly provider, in separating its network business, now known as BT OpenReach, from its service units and wants to roll this model — "functional separation" — across the whole of the EU. She believes it will promote greater consumer choice and encourage new entrants to the market.

In France a host of new operators such as Neuf and Alice have eaten substantially into France Telecom's former monopoly business — quite unlike the situation in the country's energy market where the big, state-owned groups enjoy domineering dom·i·neer·ing  
Tending to domineer; overbearing.

 shares. So France Telecom is campaigning against Reding's plans, due out next week, and has enlisted the support of Neelie.

Jacques Champeaux, its head of regulatory affairs, told reporters that the Reding model would create "a real risk for next-generation networks" and that the BT OpenReach example had not brought genuine improvements to the UK market which he characterises as one of "wait-and-see." His group has, instead, offered to open its ducts to competitors which can then instal their own optical fibre networks — and promote greater choice among broadband operators. France Telecom has about half the broadband market at home where 8m people already use telephony via the internet (VOIP (Voice Over IP) A digital telephone service that uses the public Internet as well as private backbones instead of the traditional telephone network. Many companies, including Vonage, 8x8 and AT&T (CallVantage), typically offer calling within the country for a ).

The big operators' trade group, ETNO ETNO European Public Telecommunications Network Operators' Association , says excessive regulation could hold up €10bn in investment but its competitor body, ECTA ECTA European Competitive Telecommunications Association
ECTA European Communities Trade Mark Association (Antwerp, Belgium)
ECTA East Coast Trail Association
ECTA Educación, Comunicación y Tecnología Alternativa
, says au contraire. It published a study this week showing the highest level of investments is in the UK where functional separation has taken place — and is twice the level of France and Germany where it has not.
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Date:Nov 7, 2007
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