The Board appoints 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 Group sites and combines this meeting with a visit to the local operations. Typically, Board meetings last one full day.
During fiscal year 2022/23, the Board met seven times. Three meetings were held by way of a video conference without physical attendance. The average attendance rate at the meetings of the Board of Directors was approximately 95% and varied between 85% and 100% for the individual members.
The Chairman invites the members of the Board to the meetings in writing, indicating the agenda and the motions for resolution. The invitations are sent out at least ten business days prior to the meeting. Each member of the Board can request that the Chairman calls 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 a member of the Board, members of the Executive Committee and the Management can be invited to attend Board meetings. The Board can determine 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 and Management of the Company were present at Board meetings and/or Committee meetings.
Resolutions are adopted by a simple majority of the members of the Board being present. Resolutions can also be adopted by unanimous circular decision. Resolutions adopted at Board meetings are documented through written minutes.
The Board is regularly informed of the course of business of the Company and the Group and about material events affecting the Company and the Group by the Chief Executive Officer. At meetings of the Board, every Board member may request information concerning all matters pertaining to the Company and the Group. Outside of meetings, any request for information by a member of the Board shall be submitted to the Chairman.
The Board has formed the following Committees:
Audit, Finance, Risk, Quality & Compliance Committee
Markus R. Neuhaus (Chairman), Angela Wei Dong, Nicolas Jacobs and Thomas Intrator
The role of the Audit, Finance, Risk, Quality & Compliance Committee (AFRQCC) is to assist the Board in carrying out its responsibilities and make recommendations regarding the Group’s accounting policies, financial reporting, internal controls, legal and regulatory compliance, internal audit and quality management. The Board 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 determines risk tolerance levels and limits for the Company's raw material exposure. For details on the financial risk management, see Note 3.7 to the Consolidated Financial Statements.
The AFRQCC further assists the Board in overseeing the external auditors. The AFRQCC recommends the external auditors for election, reviews the quality of their work, their qualifications and independence, the audit fees, the external audit coverage, the reporting to the Board and the AFRQCC, and assesses the additional non-audit services as well as the annual financial statements and the notes thereto. The external auditors attended five out of six meetings of the AFRQCC in fiscal year 2022/23; furthermore, the Chairman of the AFRQCC met the lead external auditor five times outside of AFRQCC meetings.
The Company’s Group Internal Audit Department reports to the Chairman of the AFRQCC. The AFRQCC reviews the performance of Group Internal Audit. The scope of Group Internal Audit encompasses the examination and evaluation of the adequacy and effectiveness of the organization’s risk management processes and the internal control system as well as compliance with laws, regulations, policies and procedures.
Key findings are presented and reviewed in the AFRQCC meetings. The AFRQCC reviews and approves the annual plan. In the last fiscal year, the Group Internal Audit Department was supported on four projects by third-party experts.
Pursuant to the Group’s “Compliance Committee and Whistleblowing Policy”, the Compliance Committee, chaired by the Group Compliance Officer, evaluates and, as the case may be, investigates alleged violations of the Code of Conduct and the Group’s policies under the supervision of the Chairman of the AFRQCC. Group Compliance 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, of which two times by video conference. The attendance rate at the meetings of the AFRQCC was 100%. The meetings lasted two to three hours each.