Organs of a GmbH – managing director, supervisory board & company meeting

A limited liability company consists of several bodies. The managing directors deal with the day-to-day business and other matters of the company and represent their company externally in accordance with the GmbHG. The supervisory board is required by law above a certain number of employees and acts as a controlling body of the company by appointing and advising the management, but also by monitoring and, in case of doubt, dismissing it. Alternatively, its establishment can also be determined within the framework of the articles of association. The shareholders’ meeting acts as the decision-making body of the GmbH. Here you can find all legal forms and here, you can go back to the overview GmbH.

Organs of a GmbH – management, control & resolution

A limited liability company can only function if all its bodies work together. This requires a high level of trust and an equally high level of reliability for the individual shareholders.

Managing Director – The Management Body

A GmbH has at least one managing director who, according to his employment, is characterised by a management authority in the internal relationship and a power of representation in the external relationship. This can be one of the GmbH shareholders – one then also speaks of shareholder managing directors – but does not have to be. The term of office is not limited in time.

Supervisory Board – The supervisory body + Labour Director

The composition of the supervisory board is prescribed in different legal sources depending on the number of employees of a company. A supervisory board consists of both members of the company – i.e. the shareholders – and employees, with all members of the supervisory board having the same rights and obligations.

If the company has fewer than 500 employees, the law does not require the establishment of a supervisory board. In this case, the GmbH may decide for itself whether or not a supervisory body appears to make sense for the company from a situational point of view.

One-Third Participation Act for more than 500 employees

If there are more than 500 employees, the One-Third Participation Act (DrittelbG) comes into play. This limits the supervisory board to a minimum of three and a maximum of 21 council members. The size of the supervisory board is directly related to the size of the company. As the name of the law suggests, one third of the supervisory board must be made up of employees, who are elected as employee representatives by the entire workforce in a ballot.

Montan Co-Determination Act for more than 1,000 employees (coal and steel industry)

Coal and steel companies with more than 1,000 employees are subject to the Coal and Steel Co-Determination Act (Montan-MitbestG). Companies that are active in mining and the iron and steel producing industry are considered to be part of the coal and steel industry. The supervisory board is formed on an equal footing between the employer side and the employee side. In addition, the so-called “neutral man” is appointed. As a rule, the supervisory board consists of eleven members – depending on the share capital, it can be expanded to 15 or 21 members if necessary. Furthermore, there is a requirement to appoint an equal member to the Board of Management as Director of Labor Relations. All members of the Supervisory Board are elected at the Company’s Annual General Meeting, taking into account the proposals made by the Works Council.

Co-determination Act for more than 2,000 employees

In the case of more than 2,000 employees, on the other hand, the German Co-Determination Act of 1976 (MitbestG) applies. Accordingly, the supervisory board is composed of equal numbers of employees and shareholders. The shareholders’ side provides the chairman of the supervisory board, who may make use of his double vote in the event of a stalemate. In addition, an equal member must be appointed to the management board to take the position of labor director. Depending on the size of the company, between twelve and 20 supervisory board members may be appointed according to the MitbestG. If the GmbH does not have more than 8,000 employees, the election takes place directly; in all other cases, the election is conducted by secret ballot and is subject to the principles of proportional representation.

Shareholders’ meeting – The decision-making body

A shareholders’ meeting is convened by registered letter from the managing director(s). During the meeting, the GmbH shareholders can discuss and vote on important matters of the company, which is why the shareholders’ meeting is also defined as a decision-making body. Each shareholder receives votes in proportion to his share in the company. Thereby, the shareholder is granted one vote per 50 Euros.

Establish a GmbH: Legal form and alternatives

  1. Limited liability company (GmbH)
  2. Special case: Real estate GmbH
  3. Legal forms: List

Limited liability company (GmbH)

Limited Liability Company (Gesellschaft mit beschränkter Haftung, GmbH) – The limited liability company is a German legal form that is founded by at least one person and managed by at least one shareholder. As the name already indicates, this corporate legal form is characterized by a limitation of liability for its shareholder(s).

Special case: Real estate GmbH

Immobilien GmbH / Vermögensverwaltende GmbH / Immobiliengesellschaft – In this article you will learn the basics about real estate companies. Who would think of founding a limited liability company when buying a house or a condominium? Admittedly, this makes no sense for owner-occupation, but it does for renting.

Here you will find all the legal forms that can be chosen as a founder in Germany and a guide with a checklist:

Legal forms: List

Legal forms – What types of company are there? If you want to start your first company, then choosing the ideal legal form is one of the first steps in the process of setting up a company. Whether it’s a special real estate company or a start-up, I’ve summarized all the types of companies in Germany for you here.