Procedures followed by the Managing Board and Supervisory Board
The Managing Board manages the business of the Company under the leadership of its Chairperson and within the constraints of the law, articles of association, rules of procedure for the Managing Board and rules of procedure for the Supervisory Board.
The Managing Board usually meets (if necessary) once a week to discuss current business developments, and makes necessary decisions and resolutions during the course of these meetings. The members of the Managing Board continuously exchange information with each other and the heads of various departments.
The Supervisory Board performs all activities defined under the law, articles of association and rules of procedure of the Supervisory Board. In order to ensure effectiveness and efficiency of its activities and procedures, the Supervisory Board examines its procedures regularly in the form of a self-evaluation at least once a year. The results of the 2015 self-evaluation once again demonstrate that the practices used to meet the requirements of the Austrian Stock Corporation Act and the Austrian Code of Corporate Governance and that the organisation and procedures of the Supervisory Board are appropriate and satisfactorily efficient for the business activities and business volume of the Company and Group as a whole. Requests and comments made by members of the Supervisory Board during this self-evaluation are taken into account.
The Supervisory Board and its committees, Chairman and Deputy Chairman continuously monitor and periodically examine management activities of the Company. Detailed presentations and discussions during Supervisory Board and Supervisory Board Committee meetings serve this purpose, as do recurring discussions between the executive committee of the Supervisory Board and members of the Managing Board, who provide comprehensive explanations and supporting documentation relating to the management and financial position of the Company and the Group. The Company’s strategy, business development, risk management, internal control system, activities of the internal audit department, preparations for Solvency II, Managing Board issues, and IT strategy are also discussed at Supervisory Board meetings and at meetings with the Managing Board. The Supervisory Board holds closed Supervisory Board meetings with the Managing Board to discuss policy issues and determine the long-term growth strategy.
Supervisory Board and Audit Committee also hold direct discussions with the financial statements auditor and the consolidated financial statements auditor in order to familiarise themselves with the accounting process and audit progress, and to inquire whether the audit has produced any important findings. Provision was made for exchanges between the members of the Audit Committee and the (Group) financial statements auditor in such meetings without the presence of the Managing Board, but no member of the Audit Committee took advantage of this opportunity during the financial year. Audit reports are discussed and debated in detail with audit managers during Audit Committee and Supervisory Board meetings regarding the annual financial statements and consolidated financial statements.
The Supervisory Board also receives quarterly reports from the internal audit department and asks the head of internal audit to provide detailed explanations of individual issues and audit focal points if necessary. The annual audit plan is submitted to the Supervisory Board. The Managing Board explains the organisation and operation of the risk management system and internal control system to the Supervisory Board at least once per year, and provides the Supervisory Board with a written report on this subject so that it can confirm the efficiency of the systems. The Audit Committee also examines the report and assessment of the functioning of the risk management system prepared by the (consolidated) financial statements auditor and reports its findings to the Supervisory Board.
At least once per year, the Managing Board presents to the Supervisory Board the precautions taken in the Group to prevent corruption, and the Supervisory Board discusses these measures.
When preparing general meeting proposals concerning the election of new Supervisory Board members, the Supervisory Board takes into account the requirements of the law and the Austrian Code of Corporate Governance that members of the Supervisory Board must satisfy and observe. Particular attention is paid to ensuring appropriate diversity in the sex, age and international distribution of the members.
The Audit Committee and Supervisory Board also strictly ensure that all of the requirements and conditions provided for under the law and Austrian Code of Corporate Governance are fully satisfied when preparing the general meeting proposal on selection of the (consolidated) financial statements auditor. In addition, after the audit of the consolidated financial statements has been completed, the Supervisory Board is provided with a list showing the total audit expenses for all Group companies. This list provides a separate breakdown according to expenses for the consolidated financial statements auditor, the members of the network, to which the consolidated financial statements auditor belongs, and other financial statement auditors working for the Group.
The Supervisory Board has formed four committees from its members, a Committee for Urgent Matters (Working Committee), an Audit Committee (Accounts Committee), a Committee for Managing Board Matters (Compensation Committee) and a Strategy Committee. Detailed information on these is provided in the “Supervisory Board Committees” section.