Excitement was in the air this week as we embarked on our first Annual General Meeting (AGM) of Shareholders since listing on the NASDAQ in Stockholm in October last year.
On 11 May, hundreds of shareholders, financial industry professionals, media representatives and employees flocked to Eriksbergshallen, a former ship building plant turned conference centre in the Eriksberg area of Gothenburg.
The location was a fitting one: Eriksberg is a shining example of a neighbourhood that has reinvented and transformed itself, after it lost the shipping industry that dominated the area until the 1970s. And as you all know, we’re on an exciting reinvention and transformation journey of our own, as our chief executive Jim Rowan emphasised in his opening speech at the event.
While he introduced himself to our shareholders and expressed how pleased he is to hold the job of Volvo Cars CEO, Jim also laid out his vision for our company and the road forward towards delivering on our mid and long-term ambitions. Our Chairperson Eric Li also attended and addressed the AGM via video link, since he was unable to travel due to Covid-related restrictions.
Naturally, Jim and Eric were not the only ones to speak at the AGM: for example, vice-chairperson of the Board, Lone Fønss Schrøder elaborated on the work done by the Board of Directors during 2021, while a representative from Deloitte explained their work with our annual report and financial reporting during the year. After that, the company’s accounts were formally approved by our shareholders, as a chorus of firm “Yes”-es echoed through Eriksbergshallen.
This is the event where our shareholders get a chance to hold the board and management to account for the year that was, and to exercise their legal right to influence the goings-on at the company. The main way of exercising that influence is through a series of votes, with proposals distributed beforehand as is customary.
One vote dealt with the new composition of our Board of Directors. Our shareholders agreed that going forward, the Board will consist of ten members instead of twelve. Jim Rowan joins the board following the departure of Håkan Samuelsson, while Anna Mossberg has also joined to add even more valued tech expertise to the Board. Betsy Atkins, Michael Jackson and Jim Zhang elected not to stand for re-election and have now stepped down – we thank all three of them for their service!
In two other important votes our shareholders approved amended remuneration guidelines for our top executives and plans for a new employee engagement programme. Start with the first: the Performance Share Programme (PSP) is meant for the top managers in the company and reflects our new life as a listed company. The guidelines spell out what types of remuneration are allowed, how much of it will be performance-based and what parameters will be used to judge that performance.
Secondly, the Employee Share Matching Programme (ESMP) is the result of our ambition to launch a broad employee engagement programme that we communicated around the IPO. Through the ESMP, the company will match employee investments in company shares up to 10,000 SEK under certain conditions. More info on the how and what of the EMSP will follow later this year.
And with that, we look back on a very successful first AGM as a listed company!