The Dutch Corporate Governance Code (‘the Code’) only applies to companies whose shares are listed on a regulated market. Even though Triodos Bank’s Depository Receipts are not yet listed on any regulated market it chooses to endorse and comply with the principles and best practices of the Code. The full comply-or-explain statement as required under the Code can be accessed at www.triodos.com/govstructure.
Although Triodos Bank generally complies with the principles and best practices of the Code, it has opted to consciously differ from it in several specific instances.
The first deviation relates to voting rights on shares and appointments. To secure the continuity of Triodos Bank’s mission and objectives, Depository Receipt holders cannot exercise voting rights on the underlying shares. Instead, these rights are exercised by SAAT. For the same reason, Depository Receipt holders cannot make recommendations for appointments of members of the Board of SAAT, and former Executive Board or Supervisory Board members of the bank can be appointed as members of the Board of SAAT.
The second instance relates to the term of office of Executive Board members. Until 2021, EB members were appointed for an indefinite period, to underline the long-term commitment to the organisation. Given the leadership transition, the Supervisory Board decided to make a shift towards appointment for four years for new contracts. By doing so, the term of office reflects the best practice of the Code, provides for a natural moment to discuss commitment, and helps to continue and secure continuous performance assessment. For EB members appointed prior to 2021, it was decided to maintain current contracts and the term is not limited to a period of four years. For EB members that have been appointed in 2021 and any future appointments, the term is brought in line with the Code.
Triodos Bank also differs from the best practice in the Code that states that a person may be appointed to the Supervisory Board for a maximum of three four-year terms. The Articles of Association allow the General Meeting to re-appoint a member of the Supervisory Board in exceptional circumstances after his or her maximum number of terms has been completed. This creates extra time and space for the Supervisory Board to fill vacancies with high-quality people.
Finally, Triodos Bank also differs from the Code’s best practice to submit all proposals relating to material amendments to the Articles of Association as separate agenda items to the General Meeting. For practical reasons, Triodos Bank wants to retain the possibility, at the discretion of the Executive Board and the Supervisory Board, to submit a proposal for multiple amendments to the Articles of Association as one single agenda item when these proposed amendments are strongly interrelated.