The Supervisory Board of HHLA

Function of the Supervisory Board

The Supervisory Board decides on the composition of the Executive Board, oversees the Executive Board’s management of the company, advises it on corporate governance and is involved in fundamental and important decisions. Measures and transactions of fundamental importance require the approval of the Supervisory Board in accordance with the Executive Board’s rules of procedure. Its other main tasks include the examination and adoption of the annual financial statements and the approval of the Consolidated Financial Statements.

The tasks and internal organisation of the Supervisory Board and its committees are based on the law, the articles of association and the rules of procedure of the Supervisory Board, which are available on HHLA’s website at and The Code also contains recommendations on the Supervisory Board’s work. The Chairman of the Supervisory Board coordinates the work of the Supervisory Board and represents its interests externally.

The members of the Supervisory Board are obligated to act in the company’s interests. No member of the Supervisory Board is permitted to pursue personal interests when making decisions or to utilise business opportunities open to the company for personal gain. Conflicts of interest must be immediately disclosed to the Chairman of the Supervisory Board. The Supervisory Board provides information on conflicts of interest and their treatment in its report to the Annual General Meeting. If a member of the Supervisory Board has significant conflicts of interest that are not merely temporary, this should result in the termination of their mandate. Consultancy agreements or any other contracts for services or works between a member of the Supervisory Board and the company require the approval of the Supervisory Board. There were no such agreements in the 2021 financial year.

D&O insurance with an excess based on Section 93 (2) sentence 3 AktG has been taken out for the members of the Supervisory Board.


The Supervisory Board carries out its work both in full council and in committees. The individual committees and their responsibilities are laid down in the Supervisory Board’s rules of procedure. The chairpersons of the committees regularly report on the work of their respective committees at the following Supervisory Board meeting. There are currently six committees: the Finance Committee, Audit Committee, Personnel Committee, Nomination Committee, Arbitration Committee and Real Estate Committee.

Finance Committee

Members: Dr. Sibylle Roggencamp (Chair), Thomas Mendrzik (Vice Chair), Dr. Norbert Kloppenburg, Norbert Paulsen, Sonja Petersen, Prof. Dr. Burkhard Schwenker

Responsibilities: The Finance Committee prepares Supervisory Board meetings and resolutions of major financial importance, such as equity acquisitions/disposals, resolutions to be adopted concerning significant borrowing and lending, the assumption of guarantees for third-party liabilities, financial and other financial transactions. It also deals with the quarterly reports on the course of business and with planning and investment issues, such as the budget and medium-term planning.

Audit Committee

Members: Dr. Norbert Kloppenburg (Chair), Norbert Paulsen (Vice Chair), Thomas Mendrzik, Dr. Isabella Niklas, Sonja Petersen, Prof. Dr. Burkhard Schwenker

Responsibilities: The Audit Committee is mainly concerned with auditing accounts and monitoring the accounting process, the effectiveness of the internal control system, the risk management system, the internal audit system and compliance. It monitors the auditing of the annual financial statements and its effectiveness, which includes checking the independence of the auditor and any non-audit services, and regularly evaluates the quality of the audit. It is also responsible for preparing the process of electing the auditor (including any shortlisting procedures) and deciding on external reviews of non-financial statements and reports.

Real Estate Committee

Members: Dr. Isabella Niklas (Chair), Norbert Paulsen (Vice Chair), Thomas Lütje, Thomas Mendrzik, Dr. Sibylle Roggencamp, Prof. Dr. Burkhard Schwenker

Responsibilities: The Real Estate Committee is responsible for all issues, reports and decisions that relate either wholly or overwhelmingly to the Real Estate subgroup (S division). In particular, this includes decisions on transactions subject to an approval requirement, examining and preparing the Supervisory Board’s decision on the adoption of the annual financial statements, as well as the approval of the consolidated financial statements, and the proposal on the appropriation of profit insofar as these relate to the Real Estate subgroup.

Personnel Committee

Members: Prof. Dr. Rüdiger Grube (Chair), Berthold Bose (Vice Chair), Thomas Mendrzik, Norbert Paulsen, Dr. Sibylle Roggencamp, Andreas Rieckhof

Responsibilities: The Personnel Committee prepares the personnel decisions to be taken by the Supervisory Board and, together with the Executive Board, ensures that a long-term succession plan is in place. It prepares the Supervisory Board resolution on the remuneration system for Executive Board members and the specification of remuneration for individual members, represents the company, where legally permissible, in other legal transactions with Executive Board members and decides on approving the appointment of authorised signatories.

Nomination Committee

Members: Prof. Dr. Rüdiger Grube (Chair), Andreas Rieckhof, Dr. Sibylle Roggencamp

Responsibilities: In line with the statutory requirements, the rules of procedure, the recommendations of the Code, the skills and requirements matrix for the Supervisory Board and the targets adopted regarding its composition, the Nomination Committee proposes suitable candidates to the Supervisory Board to stand for election at the Annual General Meeting as shareholder representatives on the Supervisory Board.

Arbitration Committee

Members: Prof. Dr. Rüdiger Grube, Berthold Bose, Norbert Paulsen, Andreas Rieckhof

Responsibilities: The Arbitration Committee performs the duties defined in Section 31 (3) of the German Co-Determination Act (MitbestG). This entails making proposals to the Supervisory Board for appointing members of the Executive Board if the statutory majority of two-thirds of the Supervisory Board members’ votes is not reached after the first round of voting.

Composition of the Supervisory Board and diversity

In accordance with the company’s articles of association, Sections 95 and 96 AktG and Section 7 MitbestG, the Supervisory Board consists of six shareholder representatives elected by the Annual General Meeting and six employee representatives elected in accordance with the German Co-Determination Act.

In view of the various requirements and recommendations relating to supervisory board composition, the Supervisory Board of HHLA updated its requirement profile for the Supervisory Board in December 2021 as outlined below. In addition to key legal requirements and the recommendations of the Code concerning supervisory board composition, the requirement profile includes the Supervisory Board’s own objectives for its composition, the skills matrix for the Board as a whole in line with the Code, and the diversity concept for the Supervisory Board, including the disclosures pursuant to Section 289f (2) no. 6 HGB.

Objective of the requirement profile

The Supervisory Board strives for a composition which ensures it is capable of monitoring and advising the Executive Board professionally at all times. The Supervisory Board believes that, in addition to professional and personal requirements, diversity aspects also play an important role for the effective work of the Supervisory Board, and thus for the sustainable development of the company. Different personalities, experiences and expertise prevent group thinking and facilitate a more holistic approach, thereby enriching the Supervisory Board’s work. The objectives below therefore serve as guidelines for long-term succession planning and the selection of suitable candidates. They also provide transparency with regard to the key appointment criteria.

Requirements for individual members

General requirements

Each Supervisory Board member should have the personal and professional skills and experience necessary to fulfil the responsibilities of a Supervisory Board member at an international, listed company and protect the HHLA Group’s public image. In view of this, each Supervisory Board member should fulfil the following requirements:

  • sufficient professional knowledge, i.e. the ability to perform the duties which are normally handled by the Supervisory Board;
  • commitment, integrity and personality;
  • a general understanding of HHLA’s business activities, including the market environment and clients’ needs;
  • corporate or operational experience – for shareholder representatives, this should ideally take the form of experience from working in company management teams, occupying a managerial position or sitting on supervisory bodies.

Available time

Each Supervisory Board member ensures that they have enough time to fulfil their Supervisory Board commitments. In particular, it must be taken into account that there are usually four to six Supervisory Board meetings per annum, which each need adequate preparation. Membership of one or more of the committees requires additional time for preparation and attendance of committee meetings. Lastly, additional extraordinary meetings of the Supervisory Board or the committees may become necessary to deal with special topics.

Limits on mandates

Members of the HHLA Supervisory Board who sit on the executive board of a listed company should, as a rule, not serve on the supervisory boards of more than two listed non-Group companies or hold comparable positions and should not serve as the chairperson of the supervisory board of a listed non-Group company. Members of the HHLA Supervisory Board who do not sit on the executive board of a listed company should, as a rule, not hold more than five such external mandates, whereby the role of supervisory board chairman counts twice in this regard. In particular, comparable positions are mandates in the supervisory bodies of foreign listed companies or mandates in the supervisory bodies of companies that are subject to statutory co-determination. On the other hand, membership of the supervisory or advisory boards of smaller companies usually requires a much smaller (time) commitment, meaning that mandates of this kind are generally not regarded as comparable positions.

Age limit and duration of membership

Candidates proposed for election to the Supervisory Board should be under the age of 70 at the time of election. As a rule, members should not serve more than three full terms on the Supervisory Board.

Requirements and objectives for the Supervisory Board as a whole

With regard to the composition of the Supervisory Board as a whole, the Supervisory Board strives to ensure that it is composed of members whose personal and professional backgrounds, experience and expertise complement one another so that the Supervisory Board as a whole can draw on the widest possible range of experience and specialist knowledge. This also serves to promote diversity.

General requirements

The Supervisory Board of HHLA must always be composed in such a way that its members have the necessary knowledge, skills and industry expertise to fulfil the Supervisory Board’s responsibilities properly. Furthermore, the members of the Supervisory Board as a whole must be familiar with the transport and logistics industries – especially the port logistics and sectors – and the real estate industry, and at least one member of the Supervisory Board must have expertise in the field of accounting and another must have expertise in the auditing of financial statements.

Specific knowledge and experience

The Supervisory Board of HHLA as a whole should cover all the areas of expertise necessary to perform its duties effectively. In line with the company’s business model, this specifically includes in-depth knowledge and experience in:

  • managing a large or medium-sized listed company which operates internationally;
  • the transport and logistics business, ideally in the port logistics and intermodal sectors, including the relevant markets and clients’ needs;
  • operations and technology, including IT systems, information technology and digitalisation;
  • the real estate business, specifically letting office space in the Hamburg area;
  • legal affairs, corporate governance and compliance;
  • management control and risk management;
  • the auditing of financial statements, and
  • accounting, including the application of accounting principles and internal control processes.

The Supervisory Board strives for a composition whereby at least one member is qualified to provide advice on each of the aspects listed above.

Independence and conflicts of interest

Given HHLA’s specific commercial situation and ownership structure, the Supervisory Board regards it as appropriate that more than half of the shareholder representatives – including the Chairman of the Supervisory Board, the Chairman of the Audit Committee and the Chairman of the Personnel Committee – are independent of the company and of the Executive Board. Furthermore, the Supervisory Board should include at least two members from the Group of shareholder representatives – including the Chairman of the Audit Committee – who are also independent from the controlling shareholder (cf. Recommendations C.6 to C.10 GCGC).

To prevent potential conflicts of interest, no more than two former Executive Board members should sit on the Supervisory Board. Moreover, the Supervisory Board should not include anyone who holds a seat on an executive body or performs an advisory role at any organisation in direct competition with the company or who has personal relations with a direct competitor. If a member of the Supervisory Board has significant conflicts of interest that are not merely temporary, this should result in the termination of their mandate.


HHLA’s Supervisory Board consists of at least 30 % women and 30 % men. Furthermore, the Supervisory Board has set itself the medium-term goal of ensuring that 50 % of its shareholder representatives are women.

In addition to this, diversity in the Supervisory Board is reflected by shareholder representatives with different career paths and fields of activity who can draw on a wide range of different experiences (such as training or industry background). In the interests of diversity, the Supervisory Board strives for a composition whereby its members complement one another with their backgrounds, experience and expertise. It also strives to ensure that some of its members have international experience.

Progress to date and future applicability

The Supervisory Board’s current composition fulfils the targets set out above. The Supervisory Board is composed of people with different career paths, a wide range of experience and varying expertise, including members with considerable international experience. The target quota of 30 % for female Supervisory Board members has been met. The age limit was not exceeded by any member at the time of their election. No member has served for more than twelve years on the Supervisory Board. Most members comply with the limits on mandates. According to the Supervisory Board, all shareholder representatives are independent of the company and the Executive Board, although the Supervisory Board would like to mention as a precaution that HHLA maintains significant business relations with Hamburg Port Authority AöR, which, as an institution under public law, is regulated by the Hamburg Ministry of Finance and the Hamburg Ministry for Economics and Innovation, where the Supervisory Board members Dr. Sibylle Roggencamp and Andreas Rieckhof also hold posts. Furthermore, the Chairman of the Supervisory Board, Prof. Dr. Grube, the Chairman of the Audit Committee, Dr. Kloppenburg, and Prof. Dr. Schwenker are also independent of the controlling shareholder. Dr. Kloppenburg has expert knowledge and experience in the fields of accounting, auditing and internal control processes, too, thereby fulfilling the requirements in Sections 100 (5) and 107 (4) AktG (in the previous version, valid until 30 June 2021) and Recommendation D.4 GCGC. Prof. Dr. Schwenker also has expert knowledge in the field of accounting, thereby fulfilling the requirements of Sections 100 (5) and 107 (4) AktG in the version that has been in force since 1 July 2021.

The Nomination Committee and the Supervisory Board will take the above requirements and objectives into account during their succession planning and when searching for suitable candidates and proposing them to the Annual General Meeting for election to the Supervisory Board. At the same time, they will strive to fulfil the skills matrix for the Supervisory Board as a whole. However, the Annual General Meeting is under no obligation to observe the requirement profile or the Supervisory Board’s election proposals during the election. The employee representatives are elected by the workforce, who are also not bound by the requirement profile. As such, the Supervisory Board has no right to nominate candidates for such positions.


The most recent self-assessment with external assistance was carried out in summer 2018 with the aid of an independent consultant. Overall, cooperation was rated very good and efficient. Moreover, the Supervisory Board works continuously to further improve the efficiency of its activities.

Further information

Further information on the composition of the Supervisory Board, the activities of the Supervisory Board and its committees, as well as on the Supervisory Board’s cooperation with the Executive Board in the reporting period, can be found in the Report of the Supervisory Board. The rules of procedure for the Supervisory Board and curricula vitae for the serving members of the Supervisory Board, which also contain information on the career path and other mandates/significant activities of the Supervisory Board member concerned and which are updated annually, are published on the company’s website at


Payments for investments in property, plant and equipment, investment property and intangible assets.

Intermodal/Intermodal systems

Transportation via several modes of transport (water, rail, road) combining the specific advantages of the respective carriers.