Bayer’s supervisory board stood strong behind its chief executive and top management on Friday in spite of losing a shareholder confidence vote in the fallout from the German pharmaceutical group’s $63bn acquisition of Monsanto and the subsequent drop in its share price. About 55 per cent of shareholders voted against ratifying the actions of the management board the company’s annual shareholder’s meeting in Bonn. The Monsanto acquisition, which made the group a leading player in seeds and herbicides, has left Bayer facing a deluge of lawsuits over allegations that Monsanto’s best-selling glyphosate-based weedkillers cause cancer. As of this month, lawsuits from approximately 13,400 plaintiffs had been filed against Monsanto. Bayer’s shares have tumbled .
In a 13-hour Annual General Meeting earlier in Bonn, 55.5 percent of shareholders voted against absolving Baumann and other managers of responsibility for their actions in the takeover last year. Though the shock result isn’t legally binding, it prompted an emergency session of the German drugs and chemicals company’s supervisory board that stretched into the early hours of Saturday morning.
Chairman Werner Wenning said in a statement that while the supervisory board is treating the vote “very seriously,” it “unanimously stands behind” Baumann and his team.