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The Role of Representatives of Minority Shareholders in the System of Corporate Governance

In the Context of Corporate Governance in the US, EU and China


Wenjia Yan

Due to the global influence of the shareholder-centered model of the US, both China and the EU have taken more measures to protect minority shareholders. In this respect, the representation of minority shareholders on the board, in particular the system of cumulative voting which was originally designed by the US to protect minority shareholders, has become a frequently-discussed issue in China and the EU. This study of comparative law is based upon the comparison of the attitudes among the US, China and the EU towards cumulative voting. By analyzing some empirical investigations and massive literatures of American academics as the theoretical foundation, it tries to demonstrate whether the convergence of corporate governance towards the shareholder-centered model is inevitable.

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The writing of this dissertation is the first significant academic challenge that I have faced. Without the support of the following people, this study would not have been completed. For this I owe them my deepest gratitude.

First of all, I would like to express my deepest sense of gratitude to Professor Heribert Hirte at Hamburg University, who undertook the task of acting as my supervisor despite his many other academic commitments and political affairs. He supported me throughout my thesis with his patience and knowledge while allowing me to work in my own way. His wisdom, knowledge and commitment to the highest standards inspired and motivated me. I attribute the level of my Doctor degree to his encouragement and effort. I am also thankful for the excellent example that he has provided as a successful professor. As a beginner in the field of academic research of law, I feel so lucky that I experienced four years with him at Hamburg University.

I would also like to thank Xiaodan Zhang, my husband, who is also a PhD candidate in Law, without whom this effort would have been worth nothing. He is not only my husband, but also my career partner. His serious attitude towards academic research and toughness have significantly influenced and encouraged me. When I encountered difficulties in the process of dissertation writing, he always stood by my side and supported me by saying “I believe in you”.

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