Triodos Bank’s Executive Board provides a perspective on the wider world it operates in, its impact and activity in 2017 and its prospects for the future.
Dutch Corporate Governance Code
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 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/governance.
On 8 December 2016, the Monitoring Committee Corporate Governance Code published a revised Dutch Corporate Governance Code. The revised Code came into force as of 1 January 2017 and is first applicable to the 2017 financial year. 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. This term is not limited to a period of four years because Triodos Bank feels that this would not serve the long-term development of the organisation.
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. Its 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.
The fourth instance relates to the fact that the Supervisory Board of Triodos Bank does not have separate nomination and remuneration committees. Instead, it operates an integrated Nomination and Compensation Committee. This is done for practical reasons, given the size of Triodos Bank.
The fifth instance relates to the fact that Aart de Geus deviates from one of the independence criteria (article 2.1.8) of the Dutch Corporate Governance Code because a family member is a Triodos Bank co-worker.
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.