The external auditor is appointed by the Annual General Meeting of shareholders on the proposal of the Supervisory Board. The appointment is for an indefinite period of time and is reviewed every four years by the Audit Committee. The same committee advises the Supervisory Board, which communicates the results of this assessment to the Annual General Meeting of shareholders. During 2011, besides the annual internal quality review on services provided by the external auditor, an external fee benchmark was performed. Both processes have been concluded and the Audit Committee has recommended to the Supervisory Board not to propose a change in the external auditor’s appointment. The Audit Committee and the Board of Management annually report their dealings with the external auditor to the Supervisory Board and discuss the auditor’s independence. The lead auditor in charge of the AkzoNobel account is changed every seven years. KPMG’s current lead partner, Mr. Weusten, has held this position since July 2007. The lead auditor is present at the Annual General Meeting of shareholders and may be questioned with regard to his statement on the fairness of the financial statements. The external auditor attends all meetings of the Audit Committee, as well as the meeting of the Supervisory Board at which the financial statements are approved. He receives the financial information and underlying reports of the quarterly figures and is given the opportunity to respond to this information.
One area of particular focus in corporate governance is the independence of the auditors. The Audit Committee has been delegated direct responsibility for the compensation and monitoring of the auditors and the services they provide to the company. The auditors are prohibited from providing the company with certain non-audit services. In order to anchor this in our procedures, the Supervisory Board adopted the “AkzoNobel Auditors Independence Policy” and the related “AkzoNobel Audit Committee Pre-approval Procedure on Audit, Audit-Related and Non-Audit Services”. All these documents and policies are available on the company’s .