Skip to main content

Board committees

The Board has established an Audit Committee, a Nominations and Governance Committee and a Remuneration Committee, each of which has formal terms of reference approved by the Board. The Board is satisfied that the terms of reference for each of these committees satisfy the requirements of the Combined Code and are reviewed internally on an ongoing basis by the Board. The terms of reference for all Board committees can be found on the Company’s website at or a copy can be obtained by application to the Company Secretary at the Company’s registered office.

The committees are provided with all necessary resources to enable them to undertake their duties in an effective manner. The Company Secretary or his delegate acts as Secretary to the committees. The minutes of committee meetings are circulated to all directors.

Each committee has access to such information and advice, both from within the Group and externally, at the cost of the Company as it deems necessary. This may include the appointment of external consultants where appropriate. Each committee undertakes an annual review of the effectiveness of its terms of reference and makes recommendations to the Board for changes where appropriate.

Audit Committee

The members of the Audit Committee during the year, together with a record of their attendance at scheduled meetings which they were eligible to attend, are set out below:

  Meetings attended
John Buchanan 3/4
Alan Jebson 4/4
Nick Land, Chairman 4/4
Anne Lauvergeon 4/4
Dr Michael Boskin, Chairman (until 29 July 2008) 1/1

The Audit Committee is comprised of financially literate members having the necessary ability and experience to understand financial statements. Solely for the purpose of fulfilling the requirements of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act and the Combined Code, the Board has designated Nick Land, who is an independent non-executive director satisfying the independence requirements of Rule 10A-3 of the US Securities Exchange Act 1934, as its financial expert on the Audit Committee. Further details on Nick Land can be found in “Board of directors and Group management”.

The Audit Committee’s responsibilities include:

  • overseeing the relationship with the external auditors;
  • reviewing the Company’s preliminary results announcement, half-year results and annual financial statements;
  • monitoring compliance with statutory and listing requirements for any exchange on which the Company’s shares and debt instruments are quoted;
  • reviewing the scope, extent and effectiveness of the activity of the Group internal audit department;
  • engaging independent advisers as it determines is necessary and to perform investigations;
  • reporting to the Board on the quality and acceptability of the Company’s accounting policies and practices including, without limitation, critical accounting policies and practices; and
  • playing an active role in monitoring the Company’s compliance efforts for Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act and receiving progress updates at each of its meetings.

At least twice a year, the Audit Committee meets separately with the external auditors and the Group Audit Director without management being present. Further details on the work of the Audit Committee and its oversight of the relationships with the external auditors can be found under “Auditors” and the “Report from the Audit Committee”.

Nominations and Governance Committee

The members of the Nominations and Governance Committee during the year, together with a record of their attendance at scheduled meetings which they were eligible to attend, are set out below:

  Meetings attended
Sir John Bond, Chairman 3/3
John Buchanan 3/3
Luc Vandevelde 3/3
Arun Sarin (until 29 July 2008) 1/1
Professor Jürgen Schrempp (until 29 July 2008) 1/1

The Nominations and Governance Committee’s key objective is to ensure that the Board comprises individuals with the requisite skills, knowledge and experience to ensure that it is effective in discharging its responsibilities. The Nominations and Governance Committee:

  • leads the process for identifying and making recommendations to the Board of candidates for appointment as directors of the Company, giving full consideration to succession planning and the leadership needs of the Group;
  • makes recommendations to the Board on the composition of the Nominations and Governance Committee and the composition and chairmanship of the Audit and Remuneration Committees;
  • regularly reviews the structure, size and composition of the Board, including the balance of skills, knowledge and experience and the independence of the non-executive directors, and makes recommendations to the Board with regard to any change; and
  • is responsible for the oversight of all matters relating to corporate governance, bringing any issues to the attention of the Board.

The Nominations and Governance Committee meets periodically when required. In addition to scheduled meetings there are a number of ad hoc meetings to address specific matters. No one other than a member of the Nominations and Governance Committee is entitled to be present at its meetings. The Chief Executive, other non-executive directors and external advisers may be invited to attend.

Remuneration Committee

The members of the Remuneration Committee during the year, together with a record of their attendance at scheduled meetings which they were eligible to attend, are set out below:

  Meetings attended
Luc Vandevelde, Chairman 5/5
Simon Murray 4/5
Anthony Watson 5/5
Philip Yea 4/5
Professor Jürgen Schrempp (until 29 July 2008) 0/1

In addition to scheduled meetings, there are a number of ad hoc meetings to deal with specific matters. The responsibilities of the Remuneration Committee include:

  • determining, on behalf of the Board, the Company’s policy on the remuneration of the Chairman, the executive directors and the senior management team of the Company;
  • determining the total remuneration packages for these individuals, including any compensation on termination of office; and
  • appointing any consultants in respect of executive directors’ remuneration.

The Chairman and Chief Executive may attend the Remuneration Committee’s meetings by invitation. They do not attend when their individual remuneration is discussed and no director is involved in deciding his own remuneration.

Further information on the Remuneration Committee’s activities is contained in “Directors’ remuneration”.

Executive Committee

The executive directors, together with certain other Group functional heads and regional chief executives, meet 12 times a year as the Executive Committee under the chairmanship of the Chief Executive. The Executive Committee is responsible for the day-to-day management of the Group’s businesses, the overall financial performance of the Group in fulfilment of strategy, plans and budgets and Group capital structure and funding. It also reviews major acquisitions and disposals. The members of the Executive Committee and their biographical details are set out in Board of Directors and Group Management section.

Strategy Board

The Strategy Board meets three times each year to discuss strategy. This is attended by Executive Committee members and the Chief Executive Officers of the major operating companies and other selected individuals based on Strategy Board topics.

Company Secretary

The Company Secretary acts as Secretary to the Board and to the committees of the Board and, with the consent of the Board, may delegate responsibility for the administration of the committees to other suitably qualified staff. He:

  • assists the Chairman in ensuring that all directors have full and timely access to all relevant information;
  • is responsible for ensuring that the correct Board procedures are followed and advises the Board on corporate governance matters; and
  • administers the procedure under which directors can, where appropriate, obtain independent professional advice at the Company’s expense.

The appointment or removal of the Company Secretary is a matter for the Board as a whole.