Guttenberg slams greedy bankers

Guttenberg slams greedy bankers
Photo: DPA
Economy Minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg harshly criticized bankers just days before a major economic summit in the Chancellery in an interview to be published Sunday in the news magazine Der Spiegel.

Saying that the industry had ignored risks in order to “pocket unreal profits,” Guttenberg said it would be a long time before the finance sector would restore its image.

Guttenberg’s comments indicate a growing hard-line against corporate excesses from all points on the German political spectrum. He is a member of the normally business-friendly Christian Social Union, the conservative Bavarian sister party to Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats.

Last week, the two parties agreed on a plan to tighten rules on managers of top companies. Some of the proposed rules include allowing shareholders to vote on management pay and requiring executives to wait three years between leaving the corner office and joining the supervisory boards of their company.

Next week, business and union leaders are scheduled to meet with Merkel and other top government officials to discuss how to keep the economy afloat. Merkel has ruled out a third stimulus package though members of Guttenberg’s CSU have called for major tax cuts to help small businesses.

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