Election, succession planning, qualifications and term of office
Members of the Board of Directors and the Chairman of the Board of Directors are elected individually by the General Meeting of shareholders for a term of office until completion of the next General Meeting of shareholders.
Succession planning is of high relevance to the Board of Directors. It regularly analyses its composition to confirm that its members’ qualifications, skills and experience correspond to the Board’s needs and requirements. The Board of Directors initiates the evaluation of potential new Board members timely with the continued aim to obtain among its members the desired qualifications and experience as well as to further diversify and renew its composition. The Chairman’s and Governance Committee evaluates candidates for Board membership and makes recommendations to the Board of Directors for election or re-election proposals. The Board of Directors nominates candidates for Board membership for election at the General Meeting of shareholders, ensuring that the Board retains an adequate size and well-balanced composition and that at least three-quarters of its members are independent. With regard to its succession planning, the Board of Directors aims to safeguard the stability of its composition while also renewing the Board in a sensible way.
The Board of Directors needs to assemble the necessary qualifications, skills and diversity to perform all required responsibilities. It must assemble among its members the balance of managerial expertise and knowledge from different fields required for the fulfilment of the oversight responsibility as well as for sound independent decision-making in line with the needs of the business.
The Board of Directors defines the selection criteria against which candidates for Board membership are assessed. The requirements which potential Board members have to meet in terms of knowledge in various key areas and the industry are constantly increasing.
Membership on the Board of Directors requires experience in key sectors such as insurance and reinsurance, finance, accounting, capital markets, risk management and regulatory matters as well as leadership and decision-making experience in a large, complex financial institution. The mandate also demands significant commitment, integrity and intercultural communication competence.
As determined by applicable law, a Board member may not have any management or executive function within the Swiss Re Group.
The prevalence of these qualifications and skills ensures that Swiss Re Ltd has the relevant expertise required for active involvement and supervision of an international listed company.
The principles of gender and age diversity, inclusion, nationality, regional representation, transparency and the avoidance of conflicts of interest also play an important role in the nomination process.
Board members’ training
The Board of Directors has a unique role in the company oversight. The company therefore strives on building a strong and effective Board culture, supported by ongoing learning, which is an important component to foster board effectiveness. Newly elected Board members receive a comprehensive onboarding programme consisting of a total of 21 hours of sessions in order to gain a sound understanding of the Group’s organisation, business and its environment. Additionally, the Board members update and enhance their knowledge of emerging business trends and risks through regular meetings with internal and external experts throughout the year. One-to-one educational sessions are offered any time through the year with our top executives and experts. Please also see the 2017 key focus areas and highlights 2017/2018 in the Overview section for more details on education and trainings the Board members completed in the reporting year.
Term of office
Effective since the Annual General Meeting 2014, the members of the Board of Directors are elected for a term of office until completion of the next General Meeting of shareholders. Members whose term has expired are immediately eligible for re-election.
The term of office of the committee members is described in the section on the committees of the Board of Directors.
First election date
The initial election year of each member is stated in the table in Members of the Board of Directors.