Team of the Month 09/2021: The Austrian Supervisory Board Day


The Austrian Supervisory Board Day was held at WU for the 11th time on July 5, 2021. In recent years, this conference has become a well-known and popular event among practitioners and politicians as well as researchers.

Team of the Month "The Austrian Supervisory Board Day"

The Austrian Supervisory Board Day

The Austrian Supervisory Board Day is organized by Susanne Kalss (Institute for Business Law) and Werner H. Hoffmann (Institute for Strategic Management). In addition to presenting the latest scientific findings and legal developments on supervisory boards, the main focus is on the exchange of practical experiences among the participants. For example, workshops in which practical case studies are analyzed with the participants (even though these unfortunately had to be canceled this year due to the distancing regulations) and panel discussions are always on the agenda. In particular, topics of current practical relevance are discussed, such as the responsibilities of the supervisory board in support of the board of directors and its function as a liaison between various interest groups.

The popularity of the event is impressively demonstrated by the steadily growing number of attendees: After the record attendance at the 10th Austrian Supervisory Board Day in February 2020 with 400 participants, even in the “pandemic year” 2021 well over 300 people from the business community and academia attended the Supervisory Board Day. Once again, top-class speakers, such as the former federal chancellor and multiple supervisory board member Dr. Alfred Gusenbauer, were featured at the event.

The organizational team

The Austrian Supervisory Board Day is organized primarily by the team of the Institute for Business Law, above all by Alexander Leonhartsberger and Jakob Deutsch. Their responsibilities range from providing support and assistance to the speakers months before the event, to managing registrations via the institute’s own website, to helping plan the content. They were supported by Christian Bruck (Institute for Strategic Management). Also involved in the organization were: Veronika Kubasta, Sophie Natlacen, Melanie Hollaus, Stefanie Stöcklinger, Florian Ebner, Elena Oberrauner, Sandra Schwarz, Jakob Jaritz, and Fabian Aubrunner (all Institute for Business Law). Their involvement ranges from continuous graphics support to preparing the conference folders for attendees, which is tackled by the entire team on the day before the event. The workload peaks for the organization team on the last few days before and the day of the event itself, when the entire team starts early in the morning with the preparation and set-up work. The final stage is always compiling the conference proceedings, which are published as an annual follow-up to the Austrian Supervisory Board Day in the trade journal “Aufsichtsrat aktuell,” as well as other organizational follow-up work.

Daring to hold an in-person event

While organizing an event as large as the Supervisory Board Day with 350–400 participants is not an easy task even in the best of times, it presented the organization team with even greater challenges in 2021 due to the pandemic. It quickly became clear that an event like the Austrian Supervisory Board Day, which thrives on the face-to-face exchange of experiences, would lose much of its charm in an online version. That’s why the team did everything in its power to make the Supervisory Board Day possible as a face-to-face event.

Although the originally announced date of February 2021 had to be postponed due to the then still very strict  restrictions on meetings and gatherings, the team (with the active support of colleagues from Campus Management) then redoubled its efforts to be able to hold the Supervisory Board Day in the summer. And in early July, it finally happened – in a slightly abbreviated form – as the first major face-to-face event on Campus WU after the “pandemic break.”

Additional organizational efforts were required for the comprehensive security concept. This also included access controls, where the core organization team was supported at peak times by Daniela Petermair, Daniel Madari, and Stefan Dobrijevic. The high number of participants confirms that the the risk paid off and that, after such a long time, people are once again looking forward to personal contact at events. The organization team is therefore very proud that the 11th Austrian Supervisory Board Day was such a great success. The team is also confident that the 12th Supervisory Board Day, scheduled for February 24, 2022, will be just as well attended. The preparations have already begun.

Team of the month

Research and teaching are the key areas of a university’s work, and the most visible. However, the work of the administrative staff is also very important for making sure that a university can operate smoothly and successfully. The members of our administrative staff may not be as highly visible as our researchers, but it’s their commitment that provides our researchers and teaching staff with crucial services like a powerful IT infrastructure, state-of-the-art library services, effective support services for faculty and researchers, tailor-made in-house training programs, or personal support in running the day-to-day operations of an institute – all of this requires careful planning and organization. To bring some of these people into the spotlight, we are naming a Team of the Month 6 times a year to introduce selected members of the administrative personnel and reward them for their important achievements in specific projects.