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Chairman at Germany's GSW hit by no-confidence vote

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GERMANY – Dutch asset manager PGGM was partly successful in its revolt against the leadership of German real estate company GSW Immobilien.

The €133bn PGGM had added two points to the agenda of GSW's annual general meeting (AGM) on Tuesday – the voting out of the chairman of the supervisory board, Eckart John von Freyend, and a motion of no confidence against chairman of the board Bernd Kottmann, for governance reasons.

More than 63% of shareholders taking part in the AGM issued a vote of no confidence for Kottmann.

This was something of a success for PGGM, which holds less than 3% of the shares in GSW but had led the shareholder revolt in the German real estate company.

However, this does not necessarily mean Kottmann will resign, as the board could decide for him to stay on.

The motion to relieve von Freyend, on the other hand, did not get the necessary 75% majority – with more than 69% voting in favour – and it was therefore rejected.

In a statement, GSW Immobilien said the supervisory board would convene in the coming days "to discuss the situation".

PGGM had criticised the appointment of Kottmann and warned of potential conflicts of interest in the supervisory board.

Further, the Dutch asset manager noted that both Freyend and Kottmann had worked for IVG until 2006, which faced difficult times during the financial crisis, allegedly due to their management strategies.

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