In 2020, the Supervisory Board held eight ordinary and six extraordinary meetings. The extraordinary meetings dealt with COVID-19 pandemic challenges and the EssilorLuxottica transaction. Our Management Board and company secretary were present at every meeting. In the beginning of the year, all Supervisory Board members attended in person. Later in the year they met by video conference because of COVID-19 pandemic restrictions. One of the Board’s priorities is strategic development, and it fully dedicated an extended meeting to plan GrandVision’s long-term value creation strategy.
In between meetings, Cornelis (Kees) van der Graaf, Chairman of the Supervisory Board and Stephan Borchert, GrandVision CEO, maintained regular contact with each other and had several meetings in 2020. The chairman acts as the first point-of-contact within the Supervisory Board for the CEO, and they discuss topical issues and general GrandVision matters.
At least once a year, the Chairman holds individual meetings with each Management Board member. Last year, the Supervisory Board mainly discussed documents and presentations prepared by the Management Board and GrandVision’s management team.
The Management Board provided the Supervisory Board with updates for ongoing topics in meetings, including:
- GrandVision news
- Financial performance
- Internal risk management and control processes
- Developments in markets where GrandVision operates
- Business projects
- Acquisition opportunities
In line with our corporate governance structure PricewaterhouseCoopers Accountants N.V. (PwC), GrandVision’s auditor, participated in a number of our Supervisory Board meetings. In February 2020, they discussed the 2019 financial statements, external auditor’s report and the findings summarized in a management letter. The auditor’s recommendations in the letter and Board report were both related to improving opportunities such as our global ERP system roll out, additional recommendations for certain countries, and reviewing the payment process.
While no material weaknesses in internal controls were identified, the external auditor offered several recommendations. After reviewing the auditor’s unqualified opinion, GrandVision’s 2019 financial statements were endorsed by all Supervisory Board members.
Before the 2020 quarterly reports were published, the Supervisory Board held indepth discussions with the Management Board about the results and related documents.
During its December 2020 meeting, the Supervisory Board discussed the 2021 plan and financial budget. They also challenged the sustainable growth and financial objectives set by the Management Board. After a productive discussion, the Supervisory Board unanimously approved the proposed 2021 financial budget.