Two complementary governance bodies
Our commitment to sustainable value creation is embedded at the very core of our organization and governance structure. Acting in concert, our two governance bodies – Board of Directors and Executive Committee – are responsible for the Group’s long-term strategic approach, pursuing the vision of Solvay’s founder and implementing our transformation strategy. The Board of Directors is entrusted with steering Solvay’s development strategy while advising the Executive Committee, which oversees its business operations.
Nicolas Boël, Chairman of the Board of Directors, and Jean-Pierre Clamadieu, Chairman of the Executive Committee and CEO, maintain regular and constructive dialog, sharing information and embodying Solvay’s collaborative spirit at the highest level.
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Solvay’s Board of Directors promotes good governance practices that create a transparent dialog with the Group’s stakeholders. It decides on general strategies and policies and supervises their implementation.
The 16 members of the Board of Directors come from a variety of backgrounds, and bring their experience, skills, and expertise in areas relevant to Solvay’s strategy, its key markets, and the crucial challenges of its business environment. Four specialized committees (Audit Committee, Finance Committee, Compensation Committee, and Nomination Committee) provide the Board with advisory opinions in their individual areas of competence. For such issues as Innovation, Strategy and Sustainability, the complete Board is involved and receives training through dedicated sessions and workshops. The Board thus devotes at least one meeting per year to an update on trends in global sustainable development issues, including climate change risks and opportunities.
During the period of transformation of Solvay, the Board has made sure that its governance has been agile enough to allow the Group to undertake its portfolio upgrade effectively, with meetings and frequent discussions to support the Group’s decisions. In 2017, the Board also guided and supported Solvay’s strategic transformation relating to the alignment of the organization with the Group’s strategy, major capital expenditure projects, and the divestment of the Polyamides business.
The Board visits Asian teams
To improve Board members’ knowledge of the Group’s operations in the field, site visits are regularly organized. In 2017, the Board visited the Group’s R&I center in Seoul, South Korea, as well as two plants in China and South Korea. This trip gave Board members the opportunity to meet with local operational teams and to be confronted with the business and industrial reality of these Asian operations. In South Korea, for instance, the R&I center visit demonstrated the level of ambition of Korean industrial players and the importance of the partnerships Solvay has developed with them. This trip also demonstrated to Board members the potential impact of digital technologies on the Group’s manufacturing activities.
I particularly appreciated our visit to a major customer – and I was very impressed by how much quality time our entire Board devoted to interacting with one of our customers’ executives and top staff, almost half a day. You could hardly imagine a stronger message about customer orientation, which is critical to the future success of Solvay, and transparency, which is a core value of the Group.Gilles Michel, Board member
The Board trip to South Korea and China – my first visit to Asia with Solvay – was a wonderful experience. I was particularly impressed with the dedication, loyalty, and enthusiasm of the staff and their understanding of and belief in the company’s strategy, businesses, Solvay Way, and sustainable innovation. These extremely competent and industrious local teams will no doubt help us achieve our future growth plans for the region.Rosemary Thorne, Board member
As Solvay’s principal executive organ of governance, the Executive Committee plays an entrepreneurial role and fosters operational agility.
An expanded, more diverse Executive Committee
In early 2018, Solvay announced that it has expanded its Executive Committee with three new members, in line with the Group’s commitment to improve its customer focus to support its growth strategy. This new, more diverse team reflects the profoundly transformed Group, and offers a good mix of operational, international and customer experiences while bringing a focus on talent management.
The Executive Committee is collectively responsible for Solvay’s overall performance and for protecting the Group’s interests, ensuring that the Group is looking to the long term. It gives shape to the strategy, steers the Group’s business portfolio, and ensures that value creation targets are met. Each member is responsible for overseeing a number of Global Business Units (GBUs), Functions, or Zones. Although Solvay’s GBUs enjoy a high level of autonomy, the Executive Committee is responsible for optimizing the allocation of human, financial, and material resources to achieve the highest possible level of performance and value creation on a sustainable basis.
Main achievements in 2017
In 2017, the Executive Committee focused on key milestones in the Group’s transformation strategy, including completion of the sale of Acetow; divestment of Emerging Biochemicals and of the Polyamides business; and the definition and implementation of the transformation program aiming to make Solvay faster, simpler, and more customer-focused. It supported several strategic initiatives, such as the implementation of Salesforce, the CRM system, throughout the Group, and the development of major partnerships with customers at the highest level.