Function of the Executive Board
In accordance with the stipulations of stock corporation law, HHLA has a dual system of management with an Executive Board as management body and a Supervisory Board as monitoring body. The Executive Board manages the company on its own responsibility. It determines the company’s goals, its fundamental strategic orientation and Group policy and organisation. These tasks include, in particular, steering the Group and managing its financing, implementing the HR strategy, appointing and developing managers while paying due consideration to diversity, and representing the company before the capital markets and the general public. It also bears responsibility for appropriate and effective control systems (risk and opportunity management, the compliance management system and the internal control system including Internal Audit).
The Executive Board performs its duties as a collegial body. The members of the Executive Board work together as colleagues and inform each other on an ongoing basis of important developments in their respective areas of responsibility. Regardless of the overall responsibility to manage the company, the individual members of the Executive Board also bear responsibility for the departments assigned to them by Executive Board resolutions and pursuant to the schedule of responsibilities. Fundamental questions of organisation, business policy and corporate planning, as well as measures of greater significance, are discussed and decided upon by the full Executive Board. The Chairwoman of the Executive Board coordinates the work of the Executive Board. This is outlined in more detail in the Executive Board’s rules of procedure.
The Executive Board works in a spirit of mutual trust with the Supervisory Board in the interests of the company. It provides the Supervisory Board with regular, timely and comprehensive information on all matters that are relevant for the company. These include, in particular, profitability, the current position and course of business, strategy, planning, the current risk position, risk management and compliance for both the Group and the company in each case. Certain measures and transactions that are particularly far-reaching – such as adopting the annual budget, initiating new areas of activity, acquiring or selling companies, and capital expenditure or financing measures above a certain size – require the prior approval of the Supervisory Board. The Chairman of the Supervisory Board must be notified without undue delay of any important events of fundamental significance for the assessment of the position and development or the management of the company or the Group, including between meetings. The Chairman of the Supervisory Board is also regularly in touch with the Executive Board, especially the Chairwoman of the Executive Board, between meetings to discuss key issues and current developments, particularly questions of strategy and corporate development, as well as the company’s risk position, risk management and compliance.
The members of the Executive Board are obligated to act in the company’s interests and are bound by an extensive non-compete clause for the duration of their tenure. No member of the Executive Board is permitted to pursue personal interests when making decisions or to utilise business opportunities open to the company for personal gain. Other duties, especially supervisory board posts at companies outside the Group, require the approval of the Supervisory Board. Transactions of material importance between Group companies and members of the Executive Board and parties and companies related to them also require the approval of the Supervisory Board and must be performed on an arm’s-length basis. Conflicts of interest concerning members of the Executive Board must be immediately disclosed to the Chairman of the Supervisory Board. Other members of the Executive Board must also be informed. There were no such transactions or conflicts of interest in the reporting period.
D&O insurance that meets the requirements of Section 93 (2) sentence 3 AktG has been taken out for the members of the Executive Board.
Composition and diversity
In accordance with Article 8 of the articles of association, HHLA’s Executive Board must consist of at least two members. The Executive Board’s members are appointed by the Supervisory Board. Together with the Executive Board, the Supervisory Board ensures there is a long-term succession plan in place and that diversity considerations are taken into account in the Executive Board’s composition. In the interests of outlining diversity aspects more precisely, the Supervisory Board has approved the following diversity concept for the Executive Board.
Objective of the diversity concept
The Executive Board plays a central role in the ongoing development of HHLA and the Group. Along with the professional skills and experience of the Executive Board members, the Supervisory Board therefore believes that diversity aspects play an important role in the sustainable development of the company. Different personalities, experiences and expertise prevent group thinking and facilitate a more holistic approach, thereby enriching the work of the Executive Board.
The Supervisory Board strives to ensure that the Executive Board is composed of members whose personal and professional backgrounds, experience and expertise complement one another so that the Executive Board as a whole can draw on the widest possible range of experience, knowledge and skills.
Proportion of women on the Executive Board
When appointing Executive Board members, the Supervisory Board is guided by the model of equal participation by women and men and actively pursues this objective, e.g. by specifically looking for female candidates to join the Executive Board. However, given that the Executive Board is small and there is usually a limited number of suitable candidates, it is not always possible to ensure that women and men are represented equally. With this in mind, the Supervisory Board has set a target quota of 25 % for women on the HHLA Executive Board. It has specified 30 June 2022 as the deadline for achieving this target.
Qualifications and professional background
Diversity in the Executive Board is also reflected by members with different qualifications and career paths who can draw on a wide range of different experiences (such as industry background). Members with different qualifications, professional backgrounds and experiences are therefore actively welcomed. However, each Executive Board member must have the personal and professional skills and experience necessary to fulfil the responsibilities of an Executive Board member at an international, listed company and protect the HHLA Group’s public image. The members of the Executive Board should also have an in-depth understanding of HHLA’s business activities and are usually required to have several years of managerial experience.
Furthermore, with a view to HHLA’s business model, at least one member should have specialist expertise in each of the following areas:
- strategy and strategic management;
- the logistics business, including the relevant markets and client needs;
- operations and technology, including IT and digitalisation;
- the real estate business;
- legal affairs, corporate governance and compliance;
- human resources, especially HR management and staff development, as well as experience of co-determined structures; and
- finance, including financing, accounting, management control, risk management and internal control processes.
As the Group’s activities are international by their very nature, at least some of the members should have considerable international experience.
The age limit for Executive Board members is 67. There is no minimum age. However, Executive Board members are generally expected to have several years of managerial experience when they are appointed, which presupposes a certain amount of professional experience. Within this framework, a varied age structure within the Executive Board is targeted – in the interests of diversity and long-term succession planning – although age is deemed less important than the other criteria.
Progress to date
The Executive Board’s current composition fulfils the targets set out above. The Executive Board is currently composed of four people with different career paths, a wide range of experience and varying expertise, including members with considerable international experience. The target quota of 25 % for female executives has been met. The age limit is not exceeded by any member.
Long-term succession planning for the Executive Board
Together with the Executive Board, the Supervisory Board develops long-term succession planning. With regard to the Supervisory Board, this duty is chiefly performed by the Personnel Committee. Based on the objectives for the composition and expertise of members set out in the diversity concept, a profile of requirements is compiled for each Executive Board position. The requirement profiles, the responsibilities and the performance of the Executive Board members are regularly reviewed by the Personnel Committee – following consultation with the Executive Board/individual Executive Board members – with regard to the current environment, the course of business, the corporate strategy and the areas of expertise represented on the Executive Board.
A further key component of long-term succession planning is the identification and further development of internal candidates for future management roles. It is the responsibility of the Executive Board to identify potential candidates at an early stage so that they can be systematically developed with increasing levels of responsibility and needs-based training. Ideally, there should always be internal candidates on the shortlist whenever new positions need to be filled.
During specific appointment processes, the Personnel Committee and the Supervisory Board will consider not only the aforementioned diversity objectives but also all circumstances of the individual case. Where necessary, the Supervisory Board will also draw on the support of HR consultants.
Transportation via several modes of transport (water, rail, road) combining the specific advantages of the respective carriers.