3 Board of Directors
The composition, general rights, duties and responsibilities of the Board of Directors of Autoneum Holding Ltd are pursuant to the Swiss Code of Obligations and the Autoneum Holding Ltd Articles of Association* and Organizational Regulations*.
Pursuant to the Articles of Association*, the Board of Directors of Autoneum Holding Ltd consists of no fewer than three and no more than nine members. As of December 31, 2019 the Board of Directors comprised seven members, none of whom performed executive duties. The functions of Chairman of the Board and CEO are separated in order to ensure a good balance between the Company management and supervisory bodies.
Independence of non-executive members
The Board of Directors consists of non-executive members, and none of the members has exercised any operational activities for Autoneum in the three financial years preceding the reporting period. The members of the Board of Directors and the companies represented by them do not have any significant business relationships with companies of the Autoneum Group (but see note 30).
Permissible activities outside the Autoneum Group
According to §20 of the Articles of Association*, no member of the Board of Directors may assume more than 15 additional mandates and no more than five of these may be held with listed companies. This restriction does not apply to (a) mandates held with companies that control or are controlled by Autoneum Holding Ltd; (b) mandates assumed by a member of the Board of Directors by order of Autoneum Holding Ltd or companies under its control; (c) mandates held with companies that do not qualify as companies within the meaning of Art. 727, para. 1, clause 2 of the Swiss Code of Obligations; (d) mandates held with nonprofit organizations and foundations as well as pension funds. The number of mandates pursuant to (c) and (d) is limited to a total of 20.
Mandates held with various legal entities that are under joint control or controlled by the same beneficial owner count as one mandate. Mandates held with the supreme management or administrative body of a legal entity that is required to be registered in the commercial register or an equivalent register abroad count as mandates.
Election and term of office and principles of the election procedure
The Chairman and the other members of the Board are elected individually by the General Meeting and for a one-year term of office, running from one Annual General Meeting to the next.
Board members can be reelected. They retire at the Annual General Meeting following their 70th birthday, unless the Board of Directors has lifted the age limit in individual cases. For Michael Pieper, the Board of Directors has made this limit void and proposed him to the shareholders for reelection in view of his outstanding personal commitment and significant shareholding in the Company, which is obviously supporting the further development of Autoneum.
Nominations for election to the Board of Directors are made with due regard for the balanced composition of this body, taking industrial and international management experience and specialist knowledge into account.
The Board of Directors is responsible for the business strategy and the overall management of the Autoneum Group and Group companies. It exercises a supervisory function over the persons who have been entrusted with the business management.
The Board of Directors is responsible for all transactions that are not explicitly reserved for the General Meeting or other bodies according to the law, the Articles of Association* and the Organizational Regulations*. It prepares the Annual General Meeting and makes the necessary arrangements for implementing resolutions adopted by the Annual General Meeting. The Board of Directors has the following decision-making authority:
- composition of the business portfolio and strategic direction of the Group;
- definition of the Group structure;
- appointment and dismissal of the members of the Group Executive Board;
- definition of the authority and duties of the Chairman and the committees of the Board of Directors as well as the CEO and CFO of the Autoneum Group and the Business Group Heads;
- organization of accounting, financial control and financial planning;
- approval of strategic and financial planning, the budget and the Annual Report with business review, financial statements, consolidated financial statements and Remuneration Report;
- principles of financial and investment policy, personnel and social policy, management and communications;
- signature regulations and allocation of authority of Autoneum Holding Ltd;
- principles of internal audit;
- principles of compliance management system;
- decisions on investment projects involving expenditure in excess of CHF 10 million;
- issuance of bonds and other significant financial market transactions;
- incorporation, purchase, sale and liquidation of subsidiaries.
The Board of Directors comprises the Chairman, the Vice Chairman and the other members. The Chairman of the Board of Directors and the members of the Compensation Committee are elected for a one-year term of office by the Annual General Meeting. Apart from this, the Board of Directors is self-constituting. The Board of Directors appoints a secretary who does not need to be a member of the Board of Directors. The Vice Chairman deputizes for the Chairman in his absence. The Board of Directors has a quorum if the majority of members are present or if the Board members are able to communicate with each other by telephone, videoconference, internet or other electronic means. Motions of the Board of Directors are approved by a simple majority of the votes of the members present. In the case of a tie, the Chairman has the casting vote.
From left to right: Norbert Indlekofer, Michael Pieper, Rainer Schmückle, Hans-Peter Schwald, This E. Schneider, Ferdinand Stutz, Peter Spuhler
Hans-Peter Schwald (1959)
Chairman of the Board
First elected to the Board Board member and Chairman since 2011 . Educational and professional background lic. iur. HSG, lawyer; until 2016 Chairman of the Board of Directors of the law firm Staiger, Schwald & Partner Ltd; since 2017 Senior Partner of BianchiSchwald LLC . Other activities and vested interests Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors, Stadler Rail Ltd; Board member, Rieter Holding Ltd; President of the Board of Directors of VAMED Management and Service Switzerland Ltd and VAMED Health Project Switzerland Ltd as well as President of Swiss VAMED rehab hospitals; Chairman, AVIA Association of Independent Importers of Petroleum Products; Board member of other Swiss joint stock companies . Committees Chairman of the Strategy Committee; Member of the Audit, the Compensation and the Nomination Committee . Non-executive
Norbert Indlekofer (1958)
First elected to the Board Board member since 2017 . Educational and professional background Dipl. Ing. University of Stuttgart; from 2004 to 2006 Chairman of the Management Board, Transmission and Chassis Systems of INA-Schaeffler KG, Germany; from 2006 to 2009 Chairman of the Management Board, Transmission and Chassis Systems of INA-Schaeffler KG as well as Chairman of the Management Board of LuK Group, Germany; from 2011 to 2014 Member of the Executive Board Automotive responsible for the Transmission Systems Business Division and Chairman of Schaeffler Ltd, Germany; from 2014 to 2016 President and CEO Automotive Schaeffler Ltd, Germany . Other activities and vested interests Member of the Board of Directors of Feintool Ltd; Member of the Advisory Council of ATESTEO GmbH & Co. KG . Committees Member of the Strategy Committee . Non-executive
This E. Schneider (1952)
First elected to the Board Board member since 2011 . Educational and professional background lic. oec. HSG; from 1991 to 1993 Chairman and CEO of listed company SAFAA, France; from 1994 to 1997 member of the Executive Board, Valora Group, as Managing Director of the Canteen and Catering Division; from 1997 to 2002 Executive Chairman and CEO of the Selecta Group; from 2004 until March 2014 Executive Chairman and CEO, Forbo Group; since April 2014 Executive Chairman of the Board of Directors of Forbo Group . Other activities and vested interests Board member Rieter Holding Ltd . Committees Chairman of the Compensation and the Nomination Committee . Non-executive
Ferdinand Stutz (1957)
First elected to the Board Board member since 2011 . Educational and professional background Dipl. Giesserei-Ing. University of Duisburg; from 1982 to 1989 Operations Manager and Deputy Manager Foundry for Rieter Ltd; from 1989 to 1995 Department Manager, Co-Partner and Executive Director of Schubert & Salzer, Germany; from 1995 to 1997 Executive Director of Georg Fischer Eisenguss GmbH, Germany; from 1998 to 2009 Member of the Management Board of Georg Fischer Ltd and CEO of GF Automotive; since 2009 owner and founder of Stutz Improvement Ltd . Other activities and vested interests Member of the Advisory Board of Halder Beteiligungsgesellschaft GmbH, Germany; Member of the Board of Directors or Advisory Board of other joint stock companies . Committees Member of the Audit, the Strategy, the Compensation and the Nomination Committee
Rainer Schmückle (1959)
First elected to the Board Board member and Vice Chairman since 2011 . Educational and professional background Dipl. Wirtsch.-Ing. University of Karlsruhe; from 1984 to 1997 various positions at Daimler Group, including CFO and Senior Vice President IT at Freightliner LLC, Germany; from 1998 to 2000 first CFO and then CEO at Adtranz LLC; from 2001 to 2005 President and CEO at Freightliner LLC, Germany; from 2005 to 2010 COO at Mercedes Car Group; from 2010 to 2011 Operating Partner of Advent International, USA; from 2011 to 2014 Chief Operating Officer and President Seating Components, Johnson Controls Inc., USA; from 2014 to 2015 CEO of MAG Group, Germany . Other activities and vested interests Member of the Board of Directors of Dometic Group Ltd, Sweden; Member of the Board of Directors of MAN Trucks & Bus SE, Germany; Member and as of January 31, 2020 Chairman of the Board of Directors of STIGA (C), Luxemburg; Member of the Board of Directors STIGA SpA, Italy; Member of the Board of Directors of a privately held company . Committees Chairman of the Audit Committee; Member of the Strategy Committee . Non-executive
Michael Pieper (1946)
First elected to the Board Board member since 2011 . Educational and professional background lic. oec. HSG; owner and CEO of Artemis Holding Ltd . Other activities and vested interests Member of the Board of Directors of various Artemis and Franke subsidiaries worldwide; Board member Bergos Berenberg Ltd, Forbo Holding Ltd, Rieter Holding Ltd, Arbonia Ltd and Reppisch-Werke Ltd
Peter Spuhler (1959)
First elected to the Board Board member since 2011 . Educational and professional background Chairman of the Board and until January 2018 CEO of Stadler Rail Ltd . Other activities and vested interests Chairman of the Board of Directors of Stadler Rail Ltd as well as of several other companies of Stadler Rail Group, PCS Holding Ltd and of Aebi Schmidt Holding Ltd; Vice Chairman of ZSC Lions Eishockey AG, DSH Holding Ltd; Member of the Board Allreal Holding Ltd, Rieter Holding Ltd, European Loc Pool Ltd; Board member of Evonik Industries Ltd, Robert Bosch GmbH; Member of the Executive Committee at Swissmem; Member of the Executive Committee at LITRA; Member of the Foundation Board of Tele D; Member of the National Council of the Swiss Parliament from 1999 to 2012
In 2019, the members of the Board of Directors met for seven regular meetings which lasted between three and six hours. One of these seven meetings was held abroad and included visits to two production sites. The attendance rate was 94.4%. In addition, six telephone conferences were held. The agendas for the Board meetings are drawn up by the Chairman. Any member of the Board can also propose items for inclusion on the agenda. Board meetings are generally also attended by the CEO and the CFO, while the other members of the Group Executive Board attend as necessary regarding business matters concerning them. They give an overview of the results, outlook and budget of their operating units, and present those projects requiring the approval of the Board of Directors. Over the course of 2019, no external consultants were present at meetings of the Board of Directors.
Once a year, the Board of Directors reviews its performance, internal working methods and cooperation with the Group Executive Board. This takes the form of a self-assessment and includes an assessment of the state of information of Board members with regard to the Group and its business development.
Should there be a conflict of interest in the course of making decisions on business matters and items on the agenda, the respective Board member must stand aside prior to discussion of the matter in question and abstain from voting when passing a resolution.
Besides the Compensation Committee, the Board of Directors appoints an Audit, a Nomination and a Strategy Committee from among its members in order to assist it in its duties. The committees are fundamentally advisory and preparatory bodies and have no decision-making powers; resolutions are passed by the Board as a whole. Each committee has written terms of reference specifying its tasks and responsibilities. The members of the Compensation Committee are elected by the Annual General Meeting. The Chairmen and members of the other committees are elected by the Board of Directors. The committees meet regularly to develop recommendations for the Board of Directors and to prepare minutes of their meetings.
The Audit Committee currently consists of three members of the Board. Its Chairman is Rainer Schmückle; the other members are Hans-Peter Schwald and Ferdinand Stutz. In the 2019 financial year, none of the members of the Audit Committee performed executive duties. The Chairman is elected for one year. The Audit Committee meets at least twice each financial year. The meetings are usually also attended by the Head of Internal Audit, representatives of the statutory and Group auditors, the CEO and the CFO, and other members of the Group Executive Board and management as appropriate. The main duties of the Audit Committee are:
- elaborating principles for external and internal audits for submission to the Board of Directors, and providing information on their implementation;
- assessing the work of the external and internal auditors as well as their mutual cooperation and reporting to the Board of Directors;
- assessing the reports submitted by the statutory auditors as well as the invoiced costs;
- overall supervision of risk management and acceptance of the Group Executive Board’s risk report addressed to the Board of Directors;
- assisting the Board of Directors in nominating the statutory auditors and the Group auditors for submission to the Annual General Meeting;
- examining the results of internal audits, approving the audit schedule for the following year and nominating the Head of Internal Audit.
The Audit Committee met for two regular meetings in 2019 and an additional meeting together with the Compensation Committee. The regular meetings lasted three to four hours. All committee members attended both meetings. All of them received the written reports from the internal auditors.
The Compensation Committee consists of three members. The Chairman of this committee is This E. Schneider. The other members are Hans-Peter Schwald and Ferdinand Stutz. The committee meets whenever the need arises, but at least twice a year. It draws up the principles for the remuneration of members of the Board of Directors, the Group Executive Board and senior management within the Autoneum Group, in particular bonus programs and share allocation plans (LTI), as well as the Remuneration Report and the proposals concerning the total maximum remuneration amount for the Board of Directors and Group Executive Board to be submitted annually by the Board of Directors for approval by the shareholders at the Annual General Meeting.
The Nomination Committee consists of three members. The Chairman is This E. Schneider; the other members are Hans-Peter Schwald and Ferdinand Stutz. The committee meets whenever necessary, but at least twice a year. This committee stipulates the profile of requirements and the principles for selecting members of the Board of Directors and prepares the election of new members of the Group Executive Board and their terms of employment. It is also briefed on succession plans for the Board of Directors, Group Executive Board and senior management and the relevant development plans.
The members of the Compensation and the Nomination Committee held three regular meetings and an additional meeting together with the Audit Committee in 2019. The regular meetings lasted three to five hours. All committee members attended all meetings. In addition, the Compensation Committee held two telephone conferences. In 2019, no external consultants were present at the committee meetings.
The Strategy Committee consists of four members: Hans-Peter Schwald is Chairman; Rainer Schmückle, Norbert Indlekofer and Ferdinand Stutz are the other members. The Strategy Committee usually meets at least twice a year. The meetings are also attended by the CEO and the CFO, and other members of the Group Executive Board and management as appropriate. The main duties of the Strategy Committee are:
- supporting and assisting the Board of Directors in strategic planning, especially in assessing market changes and developments affecting the Group;
- assessing Autoneum’s short- and long-term strategic orientation, in particular with regard to markets, customers, competitors, products and technologies;
- support of strategically important projects.
The Strategy Committee met in 2019 for three regular meetings of three to four hours, of which one was held abroad. All committee members attended the meetings. In 2019, no external consultants were present at the committee meetings.
Allocation of authority
The Board of Directors delegates operational business management to the CEO. The members of the Group Executive Board report to the CEO. The allocation of authority between the Board of Directors and the CEO is stipulated in the Organizational Regulations*, while details of the tasks reserved for the Board of Directors can be found above (“Internal Organization”). The cooperation between the Board of Directors, the CEO and the Business Groups is stipulated in the Group’s Organizational Regulations*, which include the following: The CEO draws up the strategic and financial planning and the budget with the Group Executive Board and submits it to the Board of Directors for approval. He reports regularly on the course of business as well as on risks and changes in personnel at the management level. In addition to periodic reporting, he is obliged to inform the Board of Directors immediately about any business transactions of fundamental importance.
Information and control instruments regarding the Group Executive Board
The Board of Directors receives a written monthly report on the key figures of the Group and the Business Groups from the Group Executive Board. This provides information on the balance sheet, cash flow and income statements as well as on capital expenditure. The figures are compared with the budget and with the previous year. The Board of Directors is also informed at each meeting about the course of business, important projects and risks, as well as ongoing earnings and liquidity development. Should the Board of Directors have to rule on major projects according to the Organizational Regulations*, a written request is submitted prior to the meeting.
The projects approved by the Board of Directors are monitored within the context of a special project controlling submitted to the Board of Directors every quarter. Once a year, the Board of Directors discusses and decides on the strategic plans drawn up by the Group Executive Board and the financial plan. Financial statements for publication are drawn up twice a year. Furthermore, the Chairman of the Board of Directors has a regular monthly meeting with the CEO and the CFO with respect to all major issues of corporate policy.
The Board of Directors has initiated and implemented a comprehensive internal control system for risk monitoring in connection with business activities, which covers risk identification, analysis and control as well as risk reporting. Refer to note 2 for details on this risk management process and on financial risk management.
The members of the Audit Committee, the CEO, the CFO and appointed members of the management receive the internal audit reports. Internal audit conducted 11 regular audits in 2019. The results were discussed in detail with the Business Groups and the companies concerned, and appropriate measures have been initiated and monitored accordingly.
Compliance Program and Code of Conduct
The Compliance Program of Autoneum is aimed at steering compliance with laws and regulations in order to ensure proper management of the Group and initiate measures for avoidance and early detection of infringements. Further information on compliance and the Code of Conduct can be found at www.autoneum.com/company/compliance.