This German Corporate Governance Code (the "Code") presents essential statutory regulations for the management and supervision (governance) of German listed companies and contains internationally and nationally recognized standards for good and responsible governance. The Code aims at making the German Corporate Governance system transparent and understandable. Its purpose is to promote the trust of international and national investors, customers, employees and the general public in the management and supervision of listed German stock corporations. The Code clarifies the rights of shareholders, who provide the company with the required equity capital and who carry the entrepreneurial risk.
The recommendations of the Code are marked in the text by use of the word "shall". Companies can deviate from them, but are then obliged to disclose this annually. This enables companies to reflect sector and enterprise-specific requirements. Thus, the Code contributes to more flexibility and more self-regulation in the German corporate constitution. Furthermore, the Code contains suggestions which can be deviated from without disclosure; for this the Code uses terms such as "should" or "can." The remaining passages of the Code not marked by these terms contain provisions that enterprises are compelled to observe under applicable law.
As a rule the Code will be reviewed annually against the background of national and international developments and be adjusted, if necessary.
The version as amended on February 7, 2017 you can find here.