Is there a difference in meaning between "Dem Vorstand danke ich" and "ich danke dem Vorstand"?
The meaning is the same, but when you put 'dem Vorstand' first, it gets additional emphasis.
is it possible to distinguish between der Vorstand = board of directors and der Vorstand = chairman/executive?
or could you actually say: der Vorstand dankt dem Vorstand des Vorstands?
(the executive thanked the chairman of the board of directors)
when "danke' means thanks and "danke " means thank ?
When there is "ich": it's always the first person singular of the simple present tense, "(I) thank", only without subject it has the same idiomatic usage as "(I) thank you" or "thanks".
It said "I thank the manager" was wrong. What is wrong with that? Is there a distinction between manager and management?
As a fish I understand you may not have much experience with this, but Vorstand (m.) is translated as the board, or the board of directors. Manager is a different word and concept entirely, and I think can be translated to Geschäftsführer (m.)
Can someone explain why the sentence structure is ...danke ich, and not ...ich danke?
the verb is always in second position in a statement. i.e. noun + verb + ...