Declaration of conformity with regard to the recommendations of the German Corporate Governance Code in accordance with section 161 German Stock Corporation Act (AktG)
The corporate governance of United Internet is based on the German Corporate Governance Code (the “Code”), which the Government Commission set up by the Federal Justice Minister in September 2001 published for the first time on February 26, 2002.
In addition to formulating current best practice with regard to corporate governance, the Code aims to make the German corporate governance system transparent and understandable. It strives to promote confidence in the management and supervision of listed German companies among international and national investors, customers, employees and the public.
The Government Commission reviews the Code annually to check whether it still complies with current corporate governance best practice and, where necessary, adjusts it accordingly.
The 14th version of the Code valid at the time of United Internet’s last declaration was finalized on February 7, 2017. This version of the Code was published on April 24, 2017 by the Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection in the Federal Gazette (http://www.bundesanzeiger.de).
The Code contains three different elements:
- regulations describing currently valid legal standards in Germany
- recommendations which comply with internationally and nationally recognized standards of good and responsible corporate governance
- suggestions which comply with internationally and nationally recognized standards of good and responsible corporate governance
German corporations are obliged to observe the legal regulations.
With regard to the recommendations, the German Stock Corporation Act (section 161) requires listed companies to publish a declaration of conformity once per year.
Companies are allowed to deviate from the suggestions without the need for disclosure.
The recommendations and suggestions of the Code become valid on publication in the Federal Gazette.
On December 18, 2019, the Management Board and Supervisory Board of United Internet AG submitted their current annual declaration of conformity (presented below) in accordance with section 161 AktG and immediately published it on the Company’s website (), as well as in the Federal Gazette.
In accordance with section 161 German Stock Corporation Act (AktG), the Management Board and Supervisory Board of United Internet AG declare that:
Since its last Declaration of Conformity issued on February 19, 2019, United Internet AG complied with the recommendations of the German Corporate Governance Code (the “Code") in the version dated February 7, 2017 with the stated exceptions, and will comply with the recommendations of the Code in the currently valid version dated February 7, 2017, which came into force with publication in the Federal Gazette on April 24, 2017, with the following exceptions:
Deductibles in the case of D&O insurance policies for Supervisory Board members (section 3.8 para. 3 of the Code)
The D&O insurance policy for Supervisory Board members does not include any deductible. This is also not planned in the future as United Internet AG does not generally believe that the motivation and responsibility with which the members of the Supervisory Board conduct their duties can be improved by such a deductible.
Capping Management Board compensation (section 4.2.3 para. 2 sentence 6 of the Code)
The agreements regarding Management Board compensation do not include payment caps for the total amount. Although provision is made for caps on variable components, these are not expressed as a total but as a percentage of a fixed amount. As the Supervisory Board believes that the general capping of Management Board compensation intended by the Code’s recommendation is already suitably reflected by the provisions of the current compensation agreements, it does not intend to comply in full with the Code’s recommendation acc. to section 4.2.3 para. 2 sentence 6 in the future.
Formation of committees (section 5.3 of the Code)
In view of its current size with only three members, the Supervisory Board has not formed any committees and fulfills all its duties as a whole. Under these circumstances, the Supervisory Board cannot recognize how the formation of committees would improve the efficiency of its work.
Targets for the composition of the Supervisory Board (section 5.4.1 para. 2 and 3 of the Code)
Following the resolution of past uncertainties in the regulatory environment, the Supervisory Board specified first concrete objectives regarding its composition in a resolution adopted on December 16, 2015 and will take these objectives into consideration when making election proposals at future Annual Shareholders' Meetings. It was decided not to set a regular limit for the duration of membership to the Supervisory Board as the Supervisory Board believes that such a limitation is not appropriate compared to other criteria for nominating Supervisory Board members and that it is ultimately at the discretion of the Annual Shareholders' Meeting to elect those candidates to the Supervisory Board whom they believe are best suited to representing their interests. The specific objectives of the Supervisory Board and the status of their implementation are published in the Company’s Corporate Governance Report.
Consideration of the Deputy Chair when setting compensation for Supervisory Board members (section 5.4.6 para. 1 sentence 2 of the Code)
When setting compensation for Supervisory Board members, the position of the Deputy Chair of the Supervisory Board is not considered. The Deputy Chair of the Supervisory Board does not currently undertake any additional duties which would represent a greater burden compared to those of a regular Supervisory Board member.