2 689 shareholders attended the Nestlé S.A. Annual General Meeting today in Lausanne. They represented 38.689 percent of the total capital and 61.134 percent of the shares entitled to vote. The annual report and the accounts were approved and the shareholders agreed to the release of the Board of Directors and the Management. The Nestlé Compensation Report was accepted in a separate advisory vote, in line with the Swiss Code of Best Practice for Corporate Governance. The shareholders further approved the proposed dividend of CHF 1.95 per share, and agreed to the capital reduction. All proposals of the Board of Directors were approved with strong majorities.
Shareholders re-elected Mr Daniel Borel to the Board for a further term of three years and elected Mr Henri de Castries as a new member of the Board for a three-year term. Mr de Castries is the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the AXA Group. He had a distinguished career in the French Finance Ministry before taking on several important executive roles within the AXA Group. The Board thanked Ms Carolina Müller-Möhl and Mr Jean-René Fourtou, who were not standing for re-election, for their highly appreciated services provided to Nestlé over the past years.
At the meeting, Nestlé Chairman Peter Brabeck-Letmathe highlighted Nestlé’s constant strong performance over time: “Our growth drive has not once been interrupted in spite of a very difficult external environment. Since the beginning of 2006, Nestlé has created CHF 85 billion of additional shareholder value.” He also underlined that Nestlé today is the largest company by sales and market capitalisation in the fast moving consumer goods industry worldwide.
In addition to a review of the Board’s activities in 2011 and the targets for 2012, Mr Brabeck-Letmathe’s address also touched on the global water crisis. He said: “Water is the single most critical factor for the long term sustainability of our business. Water is needed all along the value chain, from the cultivation of our agricultural raw materials to the manufacturing of our products, to their preparation by consumers”. Mr Brabeck-Letmathe continued that “in order to feed the future 10 billion inhabitants of the planet, food production will nearly have to double. If the problem of the overuse of water is not addressed with urgency and determination by all actors involved, today’s global water crisis will be compounded by a future global food crisis.” With regards to energy policies subsidising the crop production for biofuel, he said: “Food is for feeding people, not for feeding cars. Food is the power of life, not the power of engines. Therefore our strong policy claim: no food for fuel.”
Mr Brabeck-Letmathe reiterated that Nestlé was awarded the Stockholm Industry Water Award, the highest international distinction for innovation and leadership in water sustainability, and concluded that “Nestlé can have an impact through its own operations, but truly sustainable solutions can only come from a collaborative response from multiple stakeholders. Nestlé has been, and wants to continue to be, part of the solution to the global water crisis.” This public-private partnership is also the principle behind the 2030 Water Resources Group, an initiative established at the World Economic Forum in 2009, and chaired by Mr Brabeck-Letmathe.
In his review of the Nestlé 2011 results, Nestlé CEO Paul Bulcke said: “Nestlé achieved a solid performance in 2011, with excellent results in both emerging and developed markets and across all categories. These results were achieved in what was a particularly challenging year. Unprecedented events have been unfolding that are changing the face of the world in many unexpected ways – economically, financially, politically and socially. These changes are fundamental and are here to stay; they form what we might call a new reality.” Mr Bulcke concluded: “As we look to the challenges of 2012 and beyond, my message today is that Nestlé is well positioned. We have the mindset and the right structure in place to respond to these challenges and to grasp the many opportunities presented to us in emerging and developed markets.”
For the year to come, the Board and its different Committees will be composed as follows:
Board of Directors
Peter Brabeck-Letmathe, Paul Bulcke, Andreas Koopmann, Rolf Hänggi, Beat Hess, Daniel Borel, Jean-Pierre Meyers, André Kudelski, Steven G. Hoch, Naina Lal Kidwai, Titia de Lange, Jean-Pierre Roth, Ann M. Veneman, Henri de Castries
Chairman's and Corporate Governance Committee
Peter Brabeck-Letmathe, Paul Bulcke, Andreas Koopmann, Rolf Hänggi, Beat Hess
Daniel Borel, Andreas Koopmann, Jean-Pierre Meyers, Jean-Pierre Roth
Andreas Koopmann, Peter Brabeck-Letmathe, Steven G. Hoch, Ann M. Veneman
Rolf Hänggi, André Kudelski, Naina Lal Kidwai, Henri de Castries
The Chairman's and the CEO’s addresses to the AGM can be found on the Nestlé corporate website.
For more information about the global water challenge, see our new Creating Shared Value report.
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