The Annual General Meeting of Bâloise Holding Ltd voted in favour of all proposals by the Board of Directors. The shareholders approved the Company’s 2020 annual report and separate and consolidated annual financial statements, and formally approved the actions of the members of the Board of Directors and management team. They also approved the dividend payment proposed by the Board of Directors. As a result, a gross dividend of CHF 6.40 per share will be paid from distributable profit.
As tight restrictions in connection with the COVID-19 pandemic were still in place, shareholders were not permitted to attend the Annual General Meeting in person. Instead, shareholders were able to exercise their voting rights exclusively in writing or electronically via the independent proxy. Out of a total of 48.8 million shares in circulation, 23.5 million were represented at the Annual General Meeting through these channels. Shareholders also had the opportunity to submit questions and motions via the Baloise website, which were then discussed at the Annual General Meeting and recorded in the minutes.
After ten successful years as Chairman of the Board of Directors of Bâloise Holding Ltd, Dr Andreas Burckhardt did not stand for re-election. He handed over the position to Dr Thomas von Planta, who has been a member of the Board of Directors since 2017 and has contributed to the Chairman’s Committee, the Investment Committee and the Audit and Risk Committee over the last three and a half years or so. The Vice-Chairman of the Board of Directors, Dr Andreas Beerli, paid tribute to Dr Andreas Burckhardt’s huge achievements at Baloise. The shareholders also confirmed the appointment of Dr Karin Lenzlinger Diedenhofen as a new member of the Board of Directors. All other members of the Board of Directors were re-elected for a term of one year.
In his speech, the outgoing Chairman Dr Andreas Burckhardt emphasised that Baloise had demonstrated a strong sense of responsibility to society despite the challenging conditions of the last year: “Baloise invested in digitalization at an early stage. As a result, around 90 per cent of its employees were able to work from home in the exceptional circumstances of the past twelve months. Our ability to operate was guaranteed at all times. Claims and annuities were paid without delay. Our customers have been able to rely on Baloise as a strong partner, especially during the crisis. It will also be a challenge for us to return to spending more time working physically together as a team again. But face-to-face social interaction and the opportunity to meet and talk are very important for the quality of our work and for employee satisfaction.” Baloise’s profitability is very solid and it has set out a sustainability-focused and forward-looking roadmap for the strategic phase from 2022 to 2025, the second season of Simply Safe. “Thanks to our focus and strong roots in our strategic core markets of Belgium, Germany, Luxembourg and Switzerland, we are in a great position. Collaboration within the Group has become much more efficient in recent years, sharing knowledge has become easier and our innovative strength has grown,” said Dr Andreas Burckhardt. The dawn of a new strategic phase presents a perfect opportunity for the Chairman of the Board of Directors to pass on the baton: “Baloise will benefit from the great strength of character and professional expertise that Thomas von Planta brings to the chairmanship. I wish him the best of success in the role and, for the Board of Directors and the Corporate Executive Committee, a great deal of energy and enthusiasm in the further pursuit of our objectives.”
Dr Andreas Burckhardt joined the Baloise Group as Secretary General in 1988 and performed this role for six years. He took up a position on the Board of Directors of Bâloise Holding Ltd in 1999 and became Chairman of the Board in 2011. “Andreas Burckhardt embodies and exemplifies liberal and humanist values. Being the Chairman of Baloise’s Board of Directors was not just a job to him but a personal calling. He always cared deeply about the public perception of Baloise and the well-being of our staff. Engaging directly with people was his preferred way of gauging the mood. He was a very approachable and agreeable Chairman who was always willing to listen to concerns and ideas. Among the things closest to his heart were a strong corporate culture and firm values,” said Dr Andreas Beerli, Vice-Chairman of the Board of Directors, in his speech commending Dr Andreas Burckhardt’s achievements.
The full speeches (in German) of Dr Andreas Burckhardt and Dr Andreas Beerli are available for download from www.baloise.com/annual-general-meeting and can now be watched as a video stream at www.youtube.com/BaloiseGroup.