Continental’s new board less of a ‘man’s world’
Last November, Germany’s main political parties agreed in principle to the idea of requiring companies based in the country to allocate 30 per cent of their non-executive board seats to women as of 2016. The concept is yet to become law, however many German firms are implementing their own gender initiatives ahead of the possible introduction of such legislation. Continental AG is one such company, and when its new Supervisory Board met for the first time on 25 April, its numbers included three freshly-elected women. The presence of four female members on the 20-strong board means Continental has exceeded its target of having a Supervisory Board with 15 per cent women following the 2014 elections.
Joining the Supervisory Board as shareholder representatives are Sabine Neuß, who is also a member of the Management Board and chief operating officer at Linde Material Handling GmbH, and Prof. Rolf Nonnenmacher, an independent auditor who will begin his tenure on the board on 1 October 2014 following the departure of Dr. Bernd W. Voss the day before. Prof. Hans-Olaf Henkel has also stepped down as a shareholder representative. Two new employee representatives replace outgoing Supervisory Board members Michael Deister and Jörg Köhlinger; these are Elke Volkmann, second authorised representative at the administrative offices of the IG Metall union in the region of North Hesse, and Kirsten Vörkel, works council chairperson for Continental’s Dortmund factory.
“Continental is in an extremely strong position. As one of the world’s leading automotive suppliers and tyre manufacturers, the company is a sought-after partner in the industry. The Supervisory Board will continue to actively support the company’s strategy and will do everything in its power to ensure that Continental remains able to develop successfully now and in the long term. We look forward to continuing the trusting working relationship with the Executive Board, the company’s staff, and staff representatives,” declared Prof. Wolfgang Reitzle, who has been re-elected as Supervisory Board chairman. The board’s current term of office ends at the end of the Annual Shareholders’ Meeting for the 2018 fiscal year.
Continental’s Supervisory Board is made up of ten shareholder members, who are elected at the Annual Shareholders’ Meeting, and ten employee members and represented union members, who are chosen by company employees. The Supervisory Board supports the work of the Executive Board, supervises it, and provides advice. It is involved in all decisions of material importance to the company.