Board of Management and Executive Committee
The Board of Management is entrusted with the management of the company. When it comes to the management of our business, it operates in the context of an Executive Committee. The Executive Committee comprises the members of the Board of Management (currently the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and the Chief Financial Officer (CFO)), the Chief Supply Chain Officer, the General Counsel and the Chief Human Resources Officer. The former Chief Operating Officer was also a member of the Executive Committee, until stepping down as of May 27, 2020.
The composition of the Executive Committee ensures that functional, operational and commercial expertise is entrenched at the highest level of the organization. Among other responsibilities, the Board of Management defines the company’s strategic direction. It establishes and maintains internal policies and procedures for effective risk management and control, manages the realization of the company’s operational and financial targets, its sustainability performance and its pursuit of long-term value creation. In fulfilling their duties, Board of Management members are assisted by the Executive Committee and guided by the interests of the company and its affiliated enterprises, taking into consideration the relevant interests of the company’s stakeholders.
The Board of Management and Executive Committee promote openness and engagement through a SpeakUp! grievance mechanism and have established a Code of Conduct, policies, rules and procedures incorporated in the company’s Policy framework, in order to drive a culture of good governance, consistency and functional excellence. The values of good governance, sustainability and teamwork adopted by the Board of Management are incorporated in these documents. The Board of Management believes these values contribute to a culture focused on long-term value creation and actively encourages these values through leading by example.
A strong company culture fostering a solid and well-embedded balance between performance and organizational health is highly valued by the Board of Management and Supervisory Board, and is fundamental to AkzoNobel’s strategy.
To ensure our transformation has a sustainable impact on the whole organization, our company culture forms an important part of discussions involving internal organizational changes and Human Resources strategy updates. Since 2018, Insight surveys have been performed involving all employees, focused on our wider organizational health (see Note 1 of the Sustainability statements). The Executive Committee and Supervisory Board regularly discuss the results of the survey, the targets and the actions taken to achieve such targets.
The Board of Management takes precedence; all Executive Committee decisions require a majority of the members of the Board of Management. The Board of Management can decide to reserve decisions for itself. The members of the Board of Management remain accountable for all decisions made by the Executive Committee. The Board of Management is accountable for its performance to the Supervisory Board and is accountable to the shareholders of the company at the AGM. The Executive Committee members who are not also members of the Board of Management report to the CEO.
The Supervisory Board has regular, direct interaction with all members of the Executive Committee and all Executive Committee members attend most Supervisory Board meetings.
The CEO leads the Executive Committee in its overall management of the company. He is the main point of liaison with the Supervisory Board. The CFO is responsible for overseeing AkzoNobel’s finances, its corporate control, investor relations and information management.
The tasks, responsibilities and procedures of the Board of Management and Executive Committee are set out in their Rules of Procedure. These rules have been approved by the Supervisory Board and are available on our website. Authority to represent the company is vested in the two members of the Board of Management, acting jointly. The Board of Management has also delegated a level of authority to corporate agents, including the other members of the Executive Committee. The list of authorized signatories is filed with, and available from, the Dutch Chamber of Commerce.
The Managing Directors of the company’s business units and the Corporate Directors in charge of the different functions report to individual Executive Committee members with specific responsibility for their activities and performance.
Board of Management members are appointed and removed from office by the AGM. The current Board of Management members were appointed by EGMs (Extraordinary General Meetings) held in 2017. The other members of the Executive Committee are appointed by the CEO, after consultation with the Supervisory Board. Board of Management members are appointed for a term not exceeding four years, with the possibility of reappointment.
As described later in this section, the Meeting of Holders of Priority Shares has the right to make binding nominations for the appointment of members of the Board of Management and the Supervisory Board. However, as the company subscribes to the principles of the Code in general, members of the Supervisory Board and the Board of Management are (with the exception of those circumstances described later in this section) appointed on the basis of non-binding nominations by the Supervisory Board. In such cases, resolutions to appoint a member of the Supervisory Board or the Board of Management require a simple majority of the votes cast by shareholders.
Under certain conditions specified in the Articles of Association, shareholders may also be entitled to nominate Supervisory Board or Board of Management members for appointment. Such appointments require a two-thirds majority, representing at least 50% of the outstanding share capital, in order to be adopted at an AGM (or EGM).
AkzoNobel believes in the strength of diversity, and in accordance with the Code, a Diversity Policy has been adopted for the composition of the Board of Management and Executive Committee. The objective of the Diversity Policy is to enrich the Board of Management’s perspective, improve performance, increase member value and enhance the probability of achievement of the company’s goals and objectives. The Diversity Policy addresses concrete targets relating to diversity, including nationality, age, gender, education and work background. As part of our commitment to fostering an inclusive and respectful workplace, we introduced training to increase awareness around unconscious bias in the workplace.
A consistent and structured approach is applied to succession planning for the Board of Management and Executive Committee, taking into account the implementation of the Diversity Policy. AkzoNobel currently diverges from the gender target of at least 30% female and at least 30% male Board of Management members.
AkzoNobel has a gender diversity of 40% female representatives at Executive Committee level.
It is believed that due to the size of the Board of Management (being only two members), this divergence is justified and has ensured the best candidates for the roles were nominated by the Supervisory Board and appointed by shareholders. Following the appointment of Joëlle Boxus as the new Chief Human Resources Officer (as of March 9, 2020), and the steppng down of the Chief Operating Officer (as of May 27, 2020), AkzoNobel has a gender diversity of 40% female representatives at Executive Committee level. More information on AkzoNobel’s overall diversity and inclusion efforts can be found in Note 1: Employees.
Specific rules on outside board positions of members of the Executive Committee – which are more stringent than the requirements of the Dutch Civil Code – can be found in the Rules of Procedure.
Conflicts of interest
During 2020, no transactions were reported under which a member of the Board of Management or Executive Committee had a conflict of interest which was of material significance to the company and to the relevant member.
The current Remuneration Policy for the Board of Management was lastly amended following approval by the AGM held on April 23, 2020, to implement the Shareholder Rights Directive II. The details of this policy can be found in the Remuneration report. The service contracts of the members of the Board of Management contain change of control provisions. Further details can be found in the Remuneration report and Note 26 of the Consolidated financial statements. The service contracts of the Board of Management are compliant with the Code. The main elements of these contracts are available on our website.
Operational Control Cycle
The Executive Committee holds regular meetings to discuss the implementation of the company’s strategy and functional agendas. Additional meetings are held to discuss specific topics as required. The Board of Management and Executive Committee have delegated authorities to individual Executive Committee members and to certain committees and councils. To help plan for success and ensure alignment within the entire AkzoNobel organization on the strategic and operational plan, the Board of Management and Executive Committee implemented an Integrated Business Planning (IBP) process across the company’s global businesses and functions. IBP provides, on a monthly basis, visibility on the long-term integrated business and financial plan, which covers the product portfolio, demand and supply. It therefore ensures early attention and remedial actions, where appropriate, on any potential gaps. The monthly IBP cycle ends with the Corporate Management Business Review (CMBR), which is chaired by the CEO. The Executive Committee attends the CMBR meetings, where it reviews the consolidated long-term company perspective, including risks and opportunities, decides on escalation and possible scenarios and supervises the key performance indicators with corrective actions, if applicable.
Defines our core principles and how we work. It incorporates fundamental principles on issues such as business integrity, labor relations, human rights, health, safety, environment and security and community involvement.
Annual General Meeting of shareholders; Extraordinary General Meeting of shareholders.
Annual General Meeting of shareholders; Extraordinary General Meeting of shareholders.