While the Company endorses the principles and best practice provisions of the Dutch Corporate Governance Code, its current corporate governance structure applies as follows the following best practice provisions:
- As far the provisions of paragraph II.1.8 regarding the limitation of positions of directors is concerned, the Company endorses that a proper performance by its Directors of their duties is assured. Given the historical affiliation between the Company and CNH Industrial N.V., the Company values the current connection between both companies through the combined positions of Mr Elkann and Mr Marchionne and therefore does not apply those provisions.
- The Company applies the best practice provisions in the paragraphs II.2.4 and II.2.5 of the Dutch Corporate Governance Code. However, prior to the Merger Fiat S.p.A. implemented the 2012 Long Term incentive Plan (the “Plan”). Pursuant to the Plan, options and stock grants (the “Equity Rights”) related to Fiat S.p.A. were granted by Fiat S.p.A. to eligible persons prior to the Merger. The Plan provides that such Equity Rights may be exercised within one year after the date of granting. Due to the Merger, the Equity Rights related to Fiat S.p.A. that were already granted by Fiat S.p.A. pursuant to the Plan (and that are considered acquired rights) had to be converted into comparable Equity Rights relating to the Company. In order to achieve this, the Company has granted (rights to acquire) common shares in the capital of the Company under the Plan under the same terms as apply to the corresponding Equity Rights related to Fiat S.p.A., including in respect of the term for exercising the Equity Rights.
- Pursuant to the provisions of the paragraphs II.3.3 and III.6.2, a Director may not take part in any discussion or decision-making that involves a subject or transaction in relation to which he or she may appear to have a conflict of interest with the Company. However, the definition of conflict of interest as referred to in the Dutch Civil Code refers to an actual conflict of interest and as such the regulations of the Board of Directors are geared towards an actual conflict of interest and do not include the reference to the appearance of a conflict of interest. Nevertheless, these regulations stipulate that the Board of Directors as a whole may, on an ad hoc basis, resolve that there is such a strong appearance of a conflict of interest of an individual Director in relation to a specific matter, that it is deemed in the best interest of proper decision making process that such individual Director be recused from participation in the decision making process with respect to such matter even though such Director may not have an actual conflict of interest.
- The Company does not have a retirement schedule as referred to in paragraph III.3.6 of the Dutch Corporate Governance Code, because pursuant to the Articles of Association the term of office of Directors is approximately one year, such period expiring on the day the first annual general meeting of shareholders is held in the following calendar year. This approach is in line with the general practice for companies listed in the U.S. As the Company is listed at NYSE, the Company also relies on certain US governance policies, one of which is the reappointment of our directors at each annual general meeting of shareholders.
- The Governance and Sustainability Committee currently has only one non-independent member as required by paragraph III.5.1. of the Code and although the committee charter allows for the Governance and Sustainability Committee to have no more than two non-independent members, at the moment the Company does not intend to make use of this possibility. Mr John Elkann, being an executive Director, has a position on the Governance and Sustainability Committee to which paragraph III.8.3 of the Dutch Corporate Governance Code applies. The position of Mr Elkann as executive Director in this committee inter alia follows from the duties of the governance and sustainability committee, which are more extensive than the duties of a selection and appointment committee and include duties that warrant participation of an executive Director.
- The Dutch Corporate Governance Code provisions primarily refer to companies with a two-tier board structure (consisting of a management board and a separate supervisory board), while the Company has implemented a one- tier board. The best practices reflected in the Dutch Corporate Governance Code for supervisory board members apply by analogy to non-executive directors. Unlike supervisory board members of companies with a two-tier board to which provision III.7.1 of the Dutch Corporate Governance Code applies, non-executive directors of the Company also have certain management tasks. In view hereof, non-executive directors have the opportunity to elect whether (part of) their annual retainer fee will be made in common shares of the Company.