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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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 intermodal sectors – and the real estate industry, and at least one member must have expertise in the field of accounting and another member must have expertise in the field of auditing.

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;
  • controlling and risk management;
  • the auditing of financial statements and
  • in the area of accounting, including the application of accounting principles and internal control procedures.

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

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 ten years on the Supervisory Board. Most members comply with the limits on mandates. The majority of shareholder representatives are independent of the company and the Executive Board. 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) and Recommendation D.4 GCGC.

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.