This section provides an overview of the responsibilities and governance of the Supervisory Board. For an understanding of the activities of the Supervisory Board over the past year, please refer to the Supervisory Board Chairman’s statement and the Report of the Supervisory Board. The responsibility of the Supervisory Board is to supervise the policies adopted by the Board of Management and the Executive Committee and to oversee the general conduct of the business of the company. In practice, this means supervising:
- The corporate strategy
- The achievement of the company’s operational and financial objectives
- The design and effectiveness of internal risk management and control systems
- The main financial parameters, compliance with applicable laws and regulations and risk factors
The Supervisory Board advises the Board of Management and Executive Committee, while taking into account the interests of the company and its stakeholders. Major investments, acquisitions and functional initiatives are subject to Supervisory Board approval.
The Supervisory Board is governed by its Rules of Procedure (available on our website). The Rules of Procedure include the profile and the Charters of the Committees, which set out the tasks and responsibilities of the Supervisory Board, as well as its operational processes.
In compliance with the Dutch Civil Code, the Supervisory Board has a balanced composition reflecting the nature and variety of the company’s businesses, their international spread and expertise in fields such as finance, economics, information technology (IT), societal, environmental and legal aspects of business, government and public administration.
The Supervisory Board maintains a skills matrix, which provides an overview of the skills and experience of the individual members. The skills matrix can be found in the Report of the Supervisory Board.
In addition, in accordance with the Code, a Diversity Policy has been adopted for the composition of the Supervisory Board in its Rules of Procedures. The objective of this policy is to ensure a balanced composition, taking account of nationality, age, gender, education and work background. For 2020, there are no divergences to report.
When nominating and selecting new candidates for the Supervisory Board, account is taken of the Supervisory Board profile and skills matrix, the requirements of the Act on Management and Supervision, and the principles and provisions of the Code.
Members of the Supervisory Board are nominated, appointed and dismissed in accordance with procedures identical to those previously outlined for the members of the Board of Management.
In accordance with the Code, Supervisory Board members are eligible for re-election once for a period not exceeding four years. Members may be re-elected a second time for a period of two years. This period may be extended by two years at the most. In the event of a reappointment after an eight-year period, reasons must be given in the Report of the Supervisory Board. Terms of appointment are based on a reappointment scheme, available on our website. In 2020, one reappointment to the Supervisory Board was proposed to, and approved by, the AGM held on April 23, 2020.
Induction and training
Following appointment to the Supervisory Board, new members receive a comprehensive induction tailored to their individual needs. This includes extensive briefings about all major business and functional aspects of the company and its corporate governance and compliance requirements. The induction includes meetings with the CEO, CFO, all other Executive Committee members and relevant members of senior management, as well as site visits. This enables new Supervisory Board members to quickly build up an understanding of AkzoNobel’s businesses and strategy, as well as the key risks and issues the company faces. In addition, the Chairman ensures the Supervisory Board is provided with regular updates, attends business unit deep dives and ensures that the Supervisory Board undertakes training, for example in the area of compliance and ethics.
Conflict of interest
Members of the Supervisory Board shall not participate in the discussions and decision-making on a subject or transaction in relation to which they have a conflict of interest with the company. Decisions to enter into transactions under which Supervisory Board members have conflicts of interest that are of material significance to the company, and to the relevant Supervisory Board member, require the approval of the Supervisory Board. Any such decisions will be recorded in the annual report for the relevant year, with reference to the conflict of interest and a declaration that the relevant best practice provisions of the Code have been complied with. During 2020, no transactions were reported under which a member had a conflict of interest which was of material significance to the company and to the relevant member.
Remuneration of the Supervisory Board
Supervisory Board members receive a fixed annual remuneration and attendance fee, which is determined by the AGM. According to the Code, it is not possible for members to be remunerated in shares. To implement the Shareholder Rights Directive II, an amendment to the Remuneration Policy for the Supervisory Board was approved at the AGM held on April 23, 2020. More information on the remuneration of the members of the Supervisory Board and the Remuneration Policy of the Supervisory Board can be found in the Remuneration report and Note 26 of the Consolidated financial statements.
Annual General Meeting of shareholders; Extraordinary General Meeting of shareholders.