The Executive Board and Supervisory Board of Hannover Rück SE work together on a trusting basis to manage and monitor the company and the Group as a whole. In accordance with the Rules of Procedure of the Executive Board, matters of fundamental importance require the consent of the Supervisory Board. The Supervisory Board is comprised of nine members. Six members are elected by the shareholders at the Annual General Meeting, three members are appointed by the Employee Council. The Supervisory Board appoints the members of the Executive Board. Since members of the Supervisory Board cannot at the same time belong to the Executive Board, a high degree of independence in the oversight of the Executive Board is thus already ensured by structural means. In addition, the Supervisory Board is kept informed on a regular and timely basis of the business development, the execution of strategic decisions, material risks and planning as well as relevant compliance issues. The Chairman of the Supervisory Board stays in regular contact with the Chairman of the Executive Board in order to discuss with him significant business occurrences. The composition of the Executive Board (including areas of responsibility) as well as of the Supervisory Board and its committees is set out respectively of the present Annual Report.
The Rules of Procedure of the Executive Board are intended to ensure that a consistent business policy is elaborated and implemented for the company in accordance with its strategic objectives. Within the framework of a consistent business policy, the principle of “delegation of responsibility” enjoys special status. In the interests of shareholders, importance is expressly attached to an organisation that facilitates cost-effective, quick and unbureaucratic decision processes. Open and trusting cooperation geared to the interest of the whole is the foundation of success. In this context, the members of the Executive Board bear joint responsibility for the overall management of business. Irrespective of their overall responsibility, each member of the Executive Board leads their own area of competence at their individual responsibility within the bounds of the resolutions adopted by the Executive Board. Only persons under the age of 65 may be appointed to the Executive Board. The term of appointment shall be determined such that it expires no later than the end of the month in which the member of the Executive Board turns 65. The Supervisory Board takes account of diversity considerations in the composition of the Executive Board.
The Rules of Procedure of the Supervisory Board provide inter alia that each member of the Supervisory Board must have the knowledge, skills and professional experience required for orderly performance of their tasks and that the Supervisory Board must have a sufficient number of independent members. Currently, four of the six shareholder representatives are independent as defined by Item 5.4.2 of the German Corporate Governance Code. At least one independent member shall have technical expertise in the fields of accounting and the auditing of financial statements. Persons suggested to the Annual General Meeting as candidates for election to the Supervisory Board may not be older than 72 at the time of their election and shall normally not belong to the Supervisory Board as a member for longer than three full consecutive terms of office; the term of office commencing from the end of the 2014 Annual General Meeting shall be counted as the first term of office in this regard. Nominations shall take account of the company’s international activities as well as diversity. Furthermore, it shall be ensured that the proposed person can allocate the expected amount of time. For their part, each sitting member of the Supervisory Board shall also ensure that they have sufficient time to discharge their mandate. The Supervisory Board meets at least twice each calendar half-year. If a member of the Supervisory Board has only participated in half of the meetings of the Supervisory Board and the committees or less in a financial year, this shall be noted in the Supervisory Board’s report. No more than two former members of the company’s Executive Board may belong to the Supervisory Board.
In 2015 the Supervisory Board carried out an efficiency audit of its work as part of a regular procedure. A comprehensive survey covered a range of topics including, among other things, organisational aspects relating to the Supervisory Board and the course of its meetings, the cooperation between the Executive Board and the Supervisory Board and the supply of information to the Supervisory Board. The findings were presented and discussed at the first Supervisory Board meeting held in 2016. Various optimisations were made as a result, most notably relating to the provision of information.
In order to efficiently perform its tasks the Supervisory Board has formed a number of committees: the Finance and Audit Committee, the Standing Committee and the Nomination Committee. The Supervisory Board committees are each comprised of three members and prepare matters within their scope of competence for discussion and adoption of a resolution by the full Supervisory Board. In addition, the committees are also assigned their own authority to adopt resolutions.
The Finance and Audit Committee monitors the accounting process and the effectiveness of the internal control system, the risk management system and the internal auditing system. It also handles issues relating to compliance and the information system for the Supervisory Board and discusses the interim reports as well as the semi-annual reports prior to their publication. It prepares the Supervisory Board’s examination of the annual financial statement, management report and proposal for the appropriation of profit as well as of the consolidated financial statement and Group management report. In this context, the Finance and Audit Committee receives detailed information on the auditor’s view of the net assets, financial position and results of operations as well as explanations of the effects of any modified recognition and measurement principles on the net assets, financial position and results of operations together with available alternatives. In addition, the committee prepares the Supervisory Board’s decision on the commissioning of the independent auditor for the financial statements. It considers matters associated with the necessary independence of the auditor, the awarding of the audit mandate to the independent auditor, the determination of the audit concentrations and the fee agreement. The minutes of the meetings of the Finance and Audit Committee are also made available to the members of the Supervisory Board who do not sit on the committee.
The Standing Committee prepares personnel decisions for the Supervisory Board. It bears responsibility for granting loans to the group of persons specified in §§ 89 Para. 1, 115 Stock Corporation Act and those considered equivalent pursuant to § 89 Para. 3 Stock Corporation Act as well as for approving contracts with Supervisory Board members in accordance with § 114 Stock Corporation Act. It exercises the powers arising out of § 112 Stock Corporation Act in lieu of the Supervisory Board and – in cooperation with the Executive Board – ensures that long-term succession planning is in place.
The Nomination Committee is tasked with proposing to the Supervisory Board appropriate candidates for the nominations that it puts forward to the Annual General Meeting for election to the Supervisory Board.
For further details of the activities of the Supervisory Board committees please see the explanations provided in the Supervisory Board Report.