3. Board of Directors

3.1/3.2 Members of the Board of Directors

At the end of 2018, the Board of Directors was composed of six non-executive, independent members. The composition of the Board of Directors should reflect strategic requirements, the company’s targets, geographical presence and corporate culture. The Board of Directors should be diverse in every respect, i.e. in terms of gender, nationality, geographical/regional experience and business experience.

Albert M. Baehny (Photo)

Albert M. Baehny (1952)

  • Non-executive, independent Chairman of the Board of Directors since 2015 (Executive Chairman of the Board of Directors from 2011 to 2014), member of the Board of Directors since 2011
  • Swiss citizen
  • Chairman of the Board of Directors Lonza Group AG, Basel (CH); Member of the Board of Directors Investis, Crans-Montana (CH)

Albert M. Baehny graduated with a degree in biology from the University of Fribourg (CH). In 1979, he started his career in the research department of Serono-Hypolab. His further career comprised various marketing, sales, strategic planning and global management positions with Dow Chemicals Europe (1981–1993), Ciba-Geigy/Ciba SC (1994–2000), Vantico (2000–2001) and Wacker Chemie (2001–2002). For more than 20 years, Albert M. Baehny gathered relevant knowledge and expertise with global business responsibility. Before joining Geberit, he was Senior Vice President of Wacker Specialties. At Geberit he was Head of Group Division Marketing and Sales Europe from 2003 to 2004. From 2005 until the end of 2014, Albert M. Baehny was Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Geberit Group. He has been Chairman of the Board of Directors since 2011.

Albert M. Baehny was not a member of any Management Board of a Geberit Group company in the three years preceding the reporting period. Apart from his Board of Directors’ mandate, he does not have any significant business relations with the Geberit Group.

Felix R. Ehrat (Photo)

Felix R. Ehrat (1957)

  • Non-executive, independent member of the Board of Directors since 2013
  • Swiss citizen
  • Chairman of the Board of Directors Globalance Bank AG, Zurich (CH); Member of the Board of Directors Hyos Invest Holding AG, Zurich (CH); Member of the Board of Trustees Avenir Suisse, Zurich (CH); Member of the Advisory Committee RepRisk AG, Zurich (CH); Group General Counsel and Member of the Executive Committee Novartis, Basel (CH), from 2011 to 2018

Felix R. Ehrat received his doctorate of law from the University of Zurich (CH) in 1990, where he previously also received his law degree in 1982. He was admitted to practice as a lawyer in Switzerland in 1985. In 1986, he completed an LL.M. at the Mc­George School of Law in Sacramento (US). He has also completed a number of management training courses, including at Harvard University in Boston (US). From October 2011 to June 2018, he was Group General Counsel of Novartis and, since 1 January 2012, has been a member of the Executive Committee of the Novartis Group, a company in which he has held a number of other executive positions (e.g. Compliance, Country Management). Felix R. Ehrat is a leading practitioner of corporate, banking and mergers and acquisitions law, as well as an expert in corporate governance and arbitration. He started his career as an Associate with Bär & Karrer in Zurich (CH) in 1987, became Partner in 1992 and advanced to Senior Partner (2003–2011) and Executive Chairman of the Board of Directors (2007–2011) of the firm. During his career to date, Felix R. Ehrat was a chairman and member of various Boards of Directors at listed and non-listed companies, including a chairman and member of various respective audit committees. Furthermore, he has held posts in major business organisations, e.g. member of the board at economiesuisse (2013–2015) and Chairman of SwissHoldings (2015–2017). He is a lecturer at the University of St. Gallen (CH).

Felix R. Ehrat was not a member of any Management Board of a Geberit Group company in the three years preceding the reporting period. Apart from his Board of Directors’ mandate, he does not have any significant business relations with the Geberit Group.

Thomas M. Hübner (Photo)

Thomas M. Hübner (1958)

  • Non-executive, independent member of the Board of Directors since 2015
  • Swiss citizen
  • Member of the Board of Directors and Lead Director B&M European Value Retail S.A., Luxembourg (LU); Member of the Board of Directors bpost NV, Brussels (BE)

Thomas M. Hübner completed a Master’s degree in International Restaurant & Hospitality Management at the Hotel Management School in Zurich (CH) in 1982. In 1996, he received an Executive MBA from the University of St. Gallen (CH). Thomas M. Hübner was Chief Operating Officer at McDonald’s in Switzerland from 1988 to 1990, and was responsible for the Czech Republic and Slovakia from 1990 to 1995. He held the role of CEO at Prodega AG (CH) from 1996 to 2000. At Metro Cash & Carry International GmbH (DE), he was Chief Operating Officer for Eastern Europe and Russia from 2000 to 2002, and CEO from 2002 to 2008. From 2008 to 2011, he was both Chairman of the Board of Directors of Citrus International (CH) and Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors of Contract Farming India (CH). From 2011 to 2013, Thomas M. Hübner was Executive Director Europe & International Partnerships and a member of the Group Executive Board at Carrefour SA (FR). Furthermore, for three years up to 2014 he was Co-Chairman of ECR (Efficient Consumer Response) Europe, the most important European retail and manufacturer association.

Thomas M. Hübner was not a member of any Management Board of a Geberit Group company in the three years preceding the reporting period. Apart from his Board of Directors’ mandate, he does not have any significant business relations with the Geberit Group.

Hartmut Reuter (Photo)

Hartmut Reuter (1957)

  • Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors since April 2016; non-executive, independent member of the Board of Directors since 2008
  • German citizen
  • Member of the Shareholders Committee and Supervisory Board Vaillant GmbH, Remscheid (DE); Chairman of the Advisory Board GBT-Bücolit GmbH, Marl (DE); Member of the Board of Directors Wilkhahn GmbH + Co KG, Bad Münder (DE)

After graduating (Master’s in Industrial Engineering; majoring in Controlling and Finance) from Technical University Darmstadt (DE), Hartmut Reuter joined the Bosch Group in Stuttgart (DE) as a Business Management Trainee in 1981. During more than 15 years with Bosch, he occupied various finance and management positions in various industrial business units, until finally becoming Director in the planning and controlling division at Bosch headquarters. From 1997 to 2009, Hartmut Reuter was a member of the Group Executive Board of the Rieter Group in Winterthur (CH). During his first five years, he started as Head of Controlling, then he became the Head of the Corporate Center, responsible for all financial and strategic functions. From 2002, he was CEO of the Rieter Group. Since 2009, he has worked as a freelance management consultant and has held positions in various supervisory boards.

Hartmut Reuter was not a member of any Management Board of a Geberit Group company in the three years preceding the reporting period. Apart from his Board of Directors’ mandate, he does not have any significant business relations with the Geberit Group.

Jørgen Tang-Jensen (Photo)

Jørgen Tang-Jensen (1956)

  • Non-executive, independent member of the Board of Directors since 2012
  • Danish citizen
  • Member of the Board of Directors Coloplast A/S (DK); Chairman of the Board of Directors Danish Green Investment Fund (DK); Member of the Board of Directors Rockwool International A/S (DK); Member of the Board of Directors VKR Holding A/S (DK); Member of the Board of Directors Maj Invest Holding A/S (DK)

Jørgen Tang-Jensen holds an MSc in Economics & Business Administration from the Business School in Aarhus (DK). He has also completed a number of management training courses at the IMD in Lausanne (CH) and at Stanford University (US). Jørgen Tang-Jensen was CEO of the Danish building materials manufacturer VELUX A/S from 2001 to 2018. After completing his studies, Jørgen Tang-Jensen joined the VELUX Group in 1981 and worked in various executive positions in the main VELUX sales and production companies until being appointed CEO in 2001. As a managing director, he was responsible for the respective national companies in Denmark from 1989 to 1991, France from 1991 to 1992, the United States in 1996 and Germany from 1999 to 2000.

Jørgen Tang-Jensen was not a member of any Management Board of a Geberit Group company in the three years preceding the reporting period. Apart from his Board of Directors’ mandate, he does not have any significant business relations with the Geberit Group.

Eunice Zender Lai (Photo)

Eunice Zehnder-Lai (1967)

  • Non-executive, independent member of the Board of Directors since 2017
  • Citizen of Switzerland and Hong Kong
  • Member of the Board of Directors DKSH Holding AG, Zurich (CH); Member of the Board of Trustees Asia Society Switzerland Foundation, Zurich (CH)

Eunice Zehnder-Lai holds a Master of Business Administration from Harvard Business School (US) and a Bachelor of Arts from Harvard University (US). From 2014 until the end of November 2018, she was CEO of IPM Institut für Persönlichkeitsorientiertes Management, a firm headquartered in Pfäffikon (CH) that offers solutions aimed at enhancing the efficiency of organisations with customers, teams and employees in companies. Before joining IPM, she spent almost 20 years working in the finance industry for LGT Capital Partners, Goldman Sachs and Merrill Lynch in New York, London, Hong Kong and Switzerland. She worked in asset management, private wealth management and corporate finance, as well as for Procter & Gamble in marketing and brand management.

Eunice Zehnder-Lai was not a member of any Management Board of a Geberit Group company in the three years preceding the reporting period. Apart from her Board of Directors’ mandate, she does not have any significant business relations with the Geberit Group.

3.3 Regulations in the Articles of Incorporation concerning the number of permissible activities in accordance with Art. 12 Para. 1 Clause 1 OaEC

Members of the Board of Directors may hold up to five mandates in profit-oriented legal entities and up to five mandates in non-profit-oriented legal entities or charitable legal entities outside the Geberit Group.

Mandates of a member of the Board of Directors in legal entities which are controlled by the company, or which control the company as well as mandates held by such member in their capacity as a member of the Board of Directors of the company, or held by order and on behalf of the company or legal entities controlled by it, shall not count as mandates in legal entities outside the Geberit Group.

Mandates of a member of the Board of Directors of the company in legal entities outside the Geberit Group which are under common control, as well as mandates held by such member in their capacity as a member of the supreme governing body or of the group management of a legal entity outside the Geberit Group or held by order and on behalf of such legal entity or legal entities controlled by it, shall be deemed one mandate outside the Geberit Group.

Mandates held by a member of the Board of Directors in their main activity as a member of the group management of a legal entity outside the Geberit Group or held by order and on behalf of such legal entity or legal entities controlled by it, shall not count as mandates within the meaning of this provision.

Mandates in the sense of Art. 24 of the Articles of Incorporation are mandates in supreme governing bodies or in an advisory board of legal entities that are required to be recorded in the Commercial Register or in a corresponding foreign register.

The current Articles of Incorporation can be viewed online at www.geberit.com/investors/downloads/publications.

3.4 Elections and terms of office

The term of office for a member of the Board of Directors is one year and ends at the closing of the following ordinary General Meeting. Members of the Board of Directors are elected on an individual basis. Re-election is possible.

In addition to the members of the Board of Directors, the Chairman of the Board of Directors is also elected by the General Meeting. The term of office for the Chairman of the Board of Directors is also one year and ends at the closing of the following ordinary General Meeting. Re-election is possible. If the position of Chairman of the Board of Directors is vacant, the Board of Directors is to appoint a new Chairman of the Board of Directors from among its members for the remaining term of office.

The members of the Nomination and Compensation Committee are elected annually and on an individual basis by the General Meeting. Only members of the Board of Directors are eligible. Their term of office ends at the closing of the following ordinary General Meeting. Re-election is possible.

The members of the Board of Directors, Chairman of the Board of Directors and members of the Committees retire from their positions at the next ordinary General Meeting following their 70th birthday.

Hartmut Reuter (Chairman), Jørgen Tang-Jensen and Eunice Zehnder-Lai were re-elected to the Nomination and Compensation Committee at the ordinary General Meeting on 5 April 2018. The constitution subsequent to the ordinary General Meeting 2018 resulted in the following composition of the Audit Committee: Felix R. Ehrat (Chairman), Thomas M. Hübner, Hartmut Reuter. Hartmut Reuter continues to hold the office of Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors.

Jørgen Tang-Jensen will not be standing for re-election at the ordinary General Meeting in 2019. Within the context of succession planning, the Geberit AG Board of Directors will nominate Bernadette Koch as a new member of the Board of Directors. The Chairman of the Board of Directors and all remaining members of the Board of Directors will be standing for re-election for a further year. Bernadette Koch will also replace Thomas M. Hübner on the Audit Committee. Thomas M. Hübner will be nominated to become a new member of the Nomination and Compensation Committee at the General Meeting 2019. The composition of the committees and holder of the office of Vice Chairman are also to remain unchanged.

3.5 Internal organisational structure

The organisation of the Board of Directors is governed by law, the company’s Articles of Incorporation and the Organisational Regulations of the Board of Directors of Geberit AG (see also 3.6 Definition of areas of responsibility).

As a result of the entry into force of the OaEC on 1 January 2014 and the amendments made to the Articles of Incorporation in this respect, the Chairman of the Board of Directors and the members of the Nomination and Compensation Committee are each to be elected annually and on an individual basis by the General Meeting. After each ordinary General Meeting, the Board of Directors elects the Vice Chairman from among its members, as well as the Chairman of the Nomination and Compensation Committee and the Chairman and the members of the Audit Committee.

The Board of Directors meets whenever business so requires, but at least four times a year generally for a day each (2018: nine meetings or telephone conferences). Each meeting or telephone conference that took place in 2018 lasted four hours on average. Meetings shall be chaired by the Chairman or, in the event of his incapacity, by the Vice Chairman. The Board of Directors shall appoint a Secretary, who need not be a member of the Board of Directors. The Chairman of the Board of Directors may invite members of the Group Executive Board to attend meetings of the Board of Directors. During the reporting year, one or more members of the Group Executive Board took part in the nine meetings, with one particular meeting involving the participation of external consultants.

The Board of Directors shall be quorate if a majority of its members are present. Attendance can also be effected via telephone or electronic media. Resolutions are passed with the majority of votes cast. In the event of a tie, the Chairman shall have the casting vote.

The regular meetings of the Board of Directors and committees are scheduled early, so that as a rule all members participate in person or via telephone.

The participation rate for meetings of the Board of Directors in 2018 was 98%.

7 Mar 12 Mar 4 Apr 4/5 Jul 13 Aug 30 Aug 31 Aug 26 Oct 6 Dec
Albert M. Baehny X X X X X X X X X
Felix R. Ehrat X X X X X X X X X
Thomas M. Hübner X X X X X X X X
Hartmut Reuter X X X X X X X X X
Jørgen Tang-Jensen X X X X X X X X X
Eunice Zehnder-Lai X X X X X X X X X

The Board of Directors has formed two committees composed exclusively of non-executive and independent Board members:

Nomination and Compensation Committee (NCC)

The compensation and nomination tasks and responsibilities are combined in this Committee.

The Nomination and Compensation Committee consists of three independent, non-executive members of the Board of Directors. The members of the Nomination and Compensation Committee are elected individually and annually by the ordinary General Meeting. The Chairman of the Nomination and Compensation Committee is appointed by the Board of Directors. If the Nomination and Compensation Committee is not complete, the Board of Directors is to appoint members to fill the corresponding position(s) for the remaining term of office. The Nomination and Compensation Committee shall be quorate if a majority of its members are present. Resolutions are passed with the majority of votes cast. In the event of a tie, the Chairman shall have the casting vote.

The members of the Nomination and Compensation Committee as of 31 December 2018 were Hartmut Reuter (Chairman), Jørgen Tang-Jensen and Eunice Zehnder-Lai. The committee meets at least three times a year generally for a half day each (2018: four meetings). Each meeting or telephone conference that took place in 2018 lasted three hours on average.

The participation rate for meetings in 2018 was 100%.

23 Feb 30 Aug 26 Oct6 Dec
Hartmut Reuter X X XX
Jørgen Tang-Jensen X X XX
Eunice Zehnder-Lai X X XX

The Nomination and Compensation Committee supports the Board of Directors in fulfilling its duties specified by law and the Articles of Incorporation in the area of the compensation and personnel policy of the Geberit Group. The powers and duties of the Nomination and Compensation Committee are based on the following principles:

  1. Preparation and periodical review of the Geberit Group’s compensation policy and principles and personnel policy, performance criteria related to compensation and periodical review of their implementation, as well as submission of the respective proposals and recommendations to the Board of Directors.
  2. Preparation of all relevant decisions of the Board of Directors in relation to the nomination and compensation of the members of the Board of Directors and of the Group Executive Board, as well as submission of the respective proposals and recommendations to the Board of Directors.

The overall responsibility for the duties and competencies assigned to the Nomination and Compensation Committee remains with the Board of Directors.

The Board of Directors may delegate further powers and duties to the Nomination and Compensation Committee in respect of nomination, compensation and related matters.

The organisation, detailed responsibilities, functioning and reporting of the Nomination and Compensation Committee are stipulated in the Organisational Regulations for the Nomination and Compensation Committee (NCC) of the Board of Directors of Geberit AG.

Audit Committee (AC)

The Audit Committee consists of three independent, non-executive members of the Board of Directors. They are appointed annually by the Board of Directors. The Board of Directors appoints a member of the Audit Committee as Chairman. The Audit Committee shall be quorate if a majority of its members are present. Resolutions are passed with the majority of votes cast. The CEO and CFO as well as the internal and external auditors attend the meetings if necessary. Furthermore, the committee is entitled to hold meetings exclusively with representatives of the external as well as the internal auditors. The Audit Committee has direct access to the internal auditors and can obtain all the information it requires within the Geberit Group and consult the responsible employees.

As of 31 December 2018, the Audit Committee was composed of Felix R. Ehrat (Chairman), Thomas M. Hübner and Hartmut Reuter. It meets at least twice a year, generally for a half day each (2018: five meetings). Each meeting or telephone conference that took place in 2018 lasted four hours on average.

The participation rate for meetings in 2018 was 93%.

23 Feb 2 May 7 Aug 30 Aug 5 Dec
Felix R. Ehrat X X X X X
Thomas M. Hübner X X X X
Hartmut Reuter X X X X X

The Audit Committee supports the Board of Directors in fulfilling its duties specified by law, in particular in the areas of financial control (supervision of the internal and external auditors and monitoring of financial reporting) and ultimate supervision of the persons entrusted with the management (internal control system). The Audit Committee determines the scope and planning of the internal audit and coordinates them with those of the external audit. For every meeting, the internal and external auditors provide a comprehensive report on all audits carried out and the measures to be implemented. The Audit Committee monitors the implementation of the conclusions of the audit. An independent auditor also checked the working methods of the internal audit during the reporting year. It gave the internal audit the highest possible rating (“generally conforms”) based on international internal audit standards. In addition, the Audit Committee assesses the functionality of the internal control system, including risk management (see also 3.7 Information and control instruments vis-à-vis the Group Executive Board). The Audit Committee supports the Board of Directors with corporate governance and compliance issues, monitors the relevant corporate governance and compliance aspects and develops them further. The overall responsibility for the duties and competencies assigned to the Audit Committee remains with the Board of Directors.

The organisation, detailed responsibilities, functioning and reporting of the Audit Committee are set out in the Organisational Regulations for the Audit Committee of the Board of Directors of Geberit AG.

The current Articles of Incorporation as well as the Organisational Regulations of the Board of Directors of Geberit AG (including the Allocation of Powers and Duties), the Nomination and Compensation Committee and the Audit Committee can be viewed online at www.geberit.com/investors/downloads/publications.

3.6 Definition of areas of responsibility

Pursuant to Swiss Corporate Law and Art. 17 of the Articles of Incorporation at Geberit AG, the Board of Directors has the following non-transferable and irrevocable responsibilities:

  • The ultimate management of the Company and the giving of the necessary directives
  • The establishment of the organisation
  • The structuring of the accounting system and the financial controls, as well as the financial planning
  • The appointment and removal of the persons entrusted with the management and the representation
  • The ultimate supervision of the persons entrusted with the management, in particular in view of compliance with the law, Articles of Incorporation, regulations and directives
  • The preparation of the annual report and of the remuneration report as well as the preparation of the General Meeting and the implementation of its resolutions
  • The notification of the judge in case of overindebtedness

The Board of Directors determines the strategic objectives and the general resources for achieving these, and decides on major business transactions. Further areas of responsibility of the Board of Directors are set out in the Organisational Regulations of the Board of Directors of Geberit AG and the Supplement to the Organisational Regulations.

To the extent legally permissible and in accordance with its Organisational Regulations of the Board of Directors of Geberit AG, the Board of Directors has assigned the operational management to the Chief Executive Officer (CEO). The individual duties assigned to the CEO are governed in particular by the Supplement to the Organisational Regulations. The CEO is authorised to further delegate powers to individual members of the Group Executive Board and/or to other executives of the Geberit Group.

As of the end of 2018, the Group Executive Board is composed of the Chief Executive Officer and six other members. The members of the Group Executive Board are appointed by the Board of Directors based on the proposal of the Nomination and Compensation Committee.

The Articles of Incorporation and/or the Organisational Regulations of the Board of Directors of Geberit AG regulate the duties and powers of the Board of Directors as a governing body, the Chairman and the committees. The Organisational Regulations also define the rights and duties of the Group Executive Board, which are set forth in more detail in the Internal Regulations for the Group Executive Board. The Supplement to the Organisational Regulations contains a detailed list of the decision-making powers and Group management duties.

The current Articles of Incorporation as well as the Organisational Regulations of the Board of Directors of Geberit AG, the Nomination and Compensation Committee (NCC) and the Audit Committee can be viewed at www.geberit.com/investors/downloads/publications.

3.7 Information and control instruments vis-à-vis the Group Executive Board

At every meeting, the members of the Group Executive Board inform the Board of Directors of current business developments and major business transactions of the Group or Group companies. Between meetings, the Board of Directors is comprehensively informed in writing about current business developments and the company’s financial situation on a monthly basis. Essentially, this report contains key statements on the Group and market development, information and key figures on the Group sales and profit development (in January, April, July and October, it contains statements only on sales development and not on profit development), statements on sales development in the individual product lines and countries or regions as well as an analysis on the share price development. The more extensive quarterly report additionally contains the expectations of the operational management on the development of results until the end of the financial year, information on the development of the workforce and liquidity and on the investments made, the composition of the shareholders as well as market expectations in regard to the business development.

Furthermore, the Chairman of the Board of Directors and the Chief Executive Officer are in contact at regular intervals with respect to all major issues of corporate policy. Each member of the Board of Directors may individually demand information with respect to all matters of the Group or Group companies.

Based on the Organisational Regulations of the Board of Directors of Geberit AG and the Organisational Regulations of the Audit Committee (AC) of the Board of Directors, the Audit Committee has implemented a comprehensive system for monitoring and controlling the risks associated with the business activities. This process includes risk identification, analysis, control and reporting. Operationally, the Group Executive Board is res­ponsible for controlling risk management. In addition, res­ponsible persons are designated in the company for significant individual risks. These res­ponsible parties decide on specific actions for risk mitigation and monitor their implementation. Every other year, the Internal Audit department issues a risk report for the attention of the Board of Directors. Significant risks are also constantly discussed in the meetings of the Group Executive Board and Board of Directors, which take place on a regular basis (see Risk management). For information on the management of financial risks, refer to  Notes to the Consolidated Financial Statements, 4. Risk assessment and management. In addition, the Internal Audit department reports to the Audit Committee at every meeting on completed audits and on the status of the implementation of findings and optimisation proposals of previous audits.

The Organisational Regulations of the Board of Directors of Geberit AG, the Organisational Regulations of the Nomination and Compensation Committee and the Organisational Regulations of the Audit Committee can be viewed online at www.geberit.com/investors/downloads/publications.

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