The Board of Directors constitutes itself at its first meeting subsequent to the Company’s Annual General Meeting of Shareholders, with the exception of the Chairman and the members of the Compensation Committee, who are elected by the Annual General Meeting of Shareholders pursuant to the Articles of Incorporation and Swiss corporate law.
The Board of Directors elects the Vice Chairman. It meets as often as business requires, but at least four times per fiscal year. The meetings usually take place in Zurich. If possible, the Board of Directors meets once per year at one of the Barry Callebaut production sites and combines this meeting with a visit to the local operation. During fiscal year 2017/18, the Board of Directors met six times. One meeting lasted 13 hours, one meeting lasted six hours, one meeting lasted six and a half hours, one four and a half hours, and two meetings lasted one hour. The two latter meetings took place in the form of conference calls. In fiscal year 2017/18, the Board of Directors held one of its regular meetings in the context of a three-day visit to Brussels/Wieze/Halle, Belgium.
The Chairman invites the members of the Board to the meetings in writing, indicating the agenda and the motions for resolution thereto. The invitations are sent out at least ten business days prior to the meeting. Each member of the Board can request that the Chairman call for a meeting without undue delay. In addition to the materials for Board meetings, the members of the Board receive monthly financial reports.
At the request of one member of the Board, members of the Executive Committee are invited to attend meetings. The Board of Directors can determine by majority vote that other third parties, for example external consultants, may attend part or all of the meetings. In the fiscal year under review, the Chief Executive Officer, the Chief Financial Officer and, depending on the agenda items, other members of the Executive Committee or Management were present at all Board meetings and all Committee meetings. At the end of each physical Board meeting, there is a closed Board session without the participation of the Management.
Resolutions are adopted by a simple majority of the members of the Board being present or represented. Resolutions can also be adopted by unanimous circular decision. Members of the Board may only be represented by a fellow member of the Board. In the event of a tie vote, the proposal is deemed not to be resolved. Resolutions made at the Board meetings are documented through written minutes of the meeting.
Members of the Board may request any information necessary to fulfill their duties. Outside of meetings, any members of the Board may request information from members of the Executive Committee concerning the Group’s business development. Such requests for information must be addressed to the Chairman of the Board.
The Board of Directors has formed the following Committees:
Audit, Finance, Risk, Quality & Compliance Committee
Jakob Baer (Chairman), Suja Chandrasekaran, Nicolas Jacobs, Markus Neuhaus
The role of the Audit, Finance, Risk, Quality & Compliance Committee (AFRQCC) is to assist the Board of Directors in carrying out its responsibilities and make recommendations regarding the Company’s accounting policies, financial reporting, internal control system, legal and regulatory compliance and quality management. The Board of Directors has not delegated any decision-making power to the AFRQCC.
In addition, the AFRQCC reviews the basic risk management principles and guidelines, the hedging and financing strategies as well as the bases upon which the Board of Directors determines risk tolerance levels and limits for exposures of raw material positions. For details on the financial risk management, see note 26 to the Consolidated Financial Statements.
The AFRQCC further assists the Board of Directors in overseeing the external auditors. The AFRQCC recommends the external auditors for election, reviews the quality of their work, their qualification and independence, the audit fees, the external audit coverage, the reporting to the Board of Directors and/or the AFRQCC, and assesses the additional non-audit services as well as the annual financial statements and the notes thereto. The external auditors attended two meetings of the AFRQCC in fiscal year 2017/18; furthermore, the Chairman of the AFRQCC met the lead external auditor three times outside AFRQCC meetings.
The Company has its own Internal Audit Department, which reports to the Chairman of the AFRQCC. The AFRQCC reviews the quality of the Internal Audit Department. The scope of internal auditing encompasses the examination and evaluation of the adequacy and effectiveness of the organization’s internal control system and the quality of performance in carrying out assigned responsibilities. Significant findings of the Internal Audit Department as well as the respective measures of the Management are presented and reviewed in the meetings of the AFRQCC and, in material cases, in the meetings of the Board of Directors. The AFRQCC reviews the annual plan of the Internal Audit Department based on a risk assessment. In the last fiscal year, the Internal Audit Department was supported on two projects by third-party experts.
Pursuant to the Group’s “Fraud Response and Whistleblowing Policy,” the Fraud Committee, chaired by the Group’s General Counsel, evaluates and, as the case may be, investigates alleged violations of the Code of Conduct under the supervision of the Chairman of the AFRQCC. The Fraud Committee reports all pending cases to the AFRQCC on a regular basis.
The AFRQCC meets as often as business requires, but at least three times per fiscal year. The meetings usually take place in Zurich. In the last fiscal year, the Committee met six times. The meetings lasted two to three hours. One of the meetings took place in the context of the Board of Directors’ three-day visit to Brussels/Wieze/Halle, Belgium.
Nomination & Compensation Committee
Timothy E. Minges (Chairman), Fernando Aguirre, Elio Leoni Sceti, and Juergen Steinemann
The Company’s Nomination & Compensation Committee (NCC) is elected by the Annual General Meeting of Shareholders and advises the Board of Directors in determining and verifying the compensation strategy and regulations of the Group as well as in preparing the motions for the attention of the General Meeting of Shareholders regarding the compensation of the Board of Directors and the Executive Committee. It further assists the Board of Directors in defining and monitoring the performance criteria and it makes recommendations to the Board of Directors with respect to the selection, nomination, compensation, evaluation, and, when necessary, the replacement of key executives. The Board of Directors has not delegated any decision-making power to the NCC. The NCC establishes jointly with the Chief Executive Officer a general succession planning and development policy. The NCC reviews and recommends the remuneration to be paid to members of the Board of Directors and the Members of the Executive Committee. It also ensures a transparent Board and Executive Committee nomination process and evaluates potential conflicts of interest involving Management and Members of the Board. The NCC monitors the developments of the regulatory framework for compensation of the top Management and the Board of Directors on an on-going basis and develops suggestions for the respective adaptations of the Group’s compensation system.
The NCC meets as often as business requires, but at least three times per fiscal year. The meetings usually take place in Zurich. Last year, the NCC met five times, once in the form of a conference call. The meetings lasted two hours. One of the meetings took place in the context of the Board of Directors’ three-day visit to Brussels/ Wieze/Halle, Belgium.