Monday, August 29, 2011

Seminar I: Stuttgart

As part of the Bosch Fellowship Program, we have three seminars during the year. They are broadly organized as "Germany - Federal," "Germany - State," and "Germany and the EU". The first seminar was "Germany - Federal" and included an introduction to Bosch and its home of Stuttgart, Baden-W├╝rttemberg. The first few days we were in Stuttgart, learning about the Bosch Foundation and Bosch as a company. The Foundation building is next to the original house where Bosch used to live and has an amazing view of Stuttgart. Below, to the right of the grassy area, they also have a fruit orchard where employees can go during their break and pick fresh apples to eat.

What I really like about the Bosch company/foundation relationship is the way the funding for the foundation is structured. The foundation does not engage in corporate activity, but holds 92% of the shares in order to fund its activities. The voting rights for those shares are transferred to the Robert Bosch Industrietreuhund KG trust that then decides how to vote. This separates the business from the foundation, enabling both to make the decisions they think are best for their purposes. I think that's awesome.

View from the Foundation (the orchard is down to the right, you can see a few trees)




The funding structure



The Bosch House - Some of the furniture is original, but not all of it. The house changes hands a few times, particularly during the war periods, and it took a while for the company to buy the house back and locate some of the furniture.






 

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