"Supervisory board" is also repeatedly (incorrectly) translated as "consiglio sindacale", which in Italian companies mainly performs advisory board functions. The chairman of the board corresponds to the Italian "presidente" of the company, but is hierarchically subordinate to the chairman of the supervisory board. The supervisory board, in turn, may not represent the company externally, with the exception of the relationship with the executive board. The supervisory board appoints the executive board and supervises it.
In its decision of 6 April 2022 (I-8 U73/12), the Higher Regional Court of Hamm confirmed that the supervisory board is obliged to act in the best interests of the company. According to this decision, supervisory board members are liable with their personal assets if they refrain from asserting claims for damages against executive board members who have harmed the company without any apparent reason. In the case in question, the company also became insolvent as a result of the board's actions in breach of duty; the solvent supervisory board members were successfully sued for damages by the insolvency administrator.