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28. Febru­ar 2019

Onwards!

Dr. Barbara Frei-Spreiter

Dr. Bar­ba­ra Frei-Sprei­ter, Mem­ber of the Swiss Prime Site AG Board of Direc­tors, Chair­wo­man of the Nomi­na­ti­on and Com­pen­sa­ti­on Com­mit­tee

Three years ago, Swiss Prime Site star­ted a gra­du­al pro­cess of moder­ni­sa­ti­on, upda­ting the roles on the Exe­cu­ti­ve Board and the Board of Direc­tors, and intro­du­cing a new com­pen­sa­ti­on model in 2017. We will con­ti­nue to pur­sue this path, expan­ding our skills and exper­ti­se and sim­pli­fy­ing our core pro­ces­ses.

In Q2 2018, I took over from Mario F. Seris as chair­wo­man of the Nomi­na­ti­on and Com­pen­sa­ti­on Com­mit­tee. My col­leagues on the Board of Direc­tors, the mem­bers of the Com­mit­tee and I would all like to thank him for his valu­able ser­vice as Chair­man of the Com­mit­tee. We are gra­te­ful that we can con­ti­nue to bene­fit from his know­ledge and expe­ri­ence.

In 2016, Swiss Prime Site laun­ched a com­pre­hen­si­ve pro­cess of moder­ni­sa­ti­on which is trans­forming the com­pa­ny. The addi­ti­on of Mar­kus Mei­er and René Zahnd has reju­ve­na­ted the Exe­cu­ti­ve Board, and a new advi­so­ry board system has been brought in. This has com­bi­ned the boards of direc­tors with other exe­cu­ti­ve mana­gers, ther­e­by impro­ving the stra­te­gic struc­tu­re of all Swiss Prime Site group com­pa­nies. The make-up of the Board of Direc­tors has also been reju­ve­na­ted, with the addi­ti­on of a fema­le direc­tor in 2016 mar­king the first step towards a more diver­se board. In the same year, a new com­pen­sa­ti­on system was intro­du­ced for the most seni­or level of manage­ment and the Board of Direc­tors, in line with today’s inter­na­tio­nal bench­marks. This has posi­tio­ned Swiss Prime Site as a lea­der in its indu­stry and as one of the most signi­fi­cant real estate com­pa­nies in Euro­pe. As increa­singly important sta­ke­hol­ders, pro­xy advi­sors have reco­gnis­ed our efforts and appro­ved our report. The chan­ges resul­ted in our share­hol­ders being able to deci­de on this at the most recent Annu­al Gene­ral Mee­ting. The high level of appro­vals in March 2018 show­ed that we are on the right path. Howe­ver, we still have much to do.

«The high level of appro­vals in March 2018 show­ed that we are on the right path.»

As Chair­wo­man of the Nomi­na­ti­on and Com­pen­sa­ti­on Com­mit­tee, one of my main tasks is to work with my col­leagues on expan­ding the key com­pe­ten­ci­es found on the Board of Direc­tors, our Exe­cu­ti­ve Board and among our employees. We alrea­dy have a strong exper­ti­se in real estate, finan­ce and tech­no­lo­gy, and we need to build on the­se strengths in the short and medi­um term. Ano­t­her key objec­tive is to achie­ve a more diver­se mix on the Board of Direc­tors and the rela­ted com­mit­tees, with even grea­ter signi­fi­can­ce being attri­but­ed to exper­ti­se, expe­ri­ence, age and gen­der in the future. With the nomi­na­ti­on of Gabri­el­le Nater-Bass, the­re will hope­ful­ly be two women on the Board of Direc­tors after the forth­co­m­ing Annu­al Gene­ral Mee­ting. This will ful­fil the Swiss federal government’s quo­ta, which recom­mends 30% of a board of direc­tors to be fema­le. Howe­ver, we are not just impro­ving the diver­si­ty wit­hin the Board but also signi­fi­cant­ly streng­t­he­ning its know­ledge base with her exten­si­ve legal know­ledge. Tech­no­lo­gi­cal advan­ces have resul­ted in signi­fi­cant chan­ges in the mar­ket. It will be vital for us to be able to reli­ab­ly ana­ly­se, assess and mea­su­re the­se chan­ges, now and in the lon­ger term.

The com­pen­sa­ti­on system intro­du­ced in 2017 was enthu­si­asti­cal­ly recei­ved by our share­hol­ders and pro­xy advi­sors. When drawing up this system, we loo­ked very clo­se­ly at the chan­ging demands of all sta­ke­hol­ders, and focu­sed on trans­pa­ren­cy and per­for­mance cri­te­ria. We will the­re­fo­re con­ti­nue to hold firm to the com­pen­sa­ti­on system. Direct dis­cus­sions with our sta­ke­hol­ders, initia­ted as part of our moder­ni­sa­ti­on pro­cess, will also con­ti­nue. Our unce­a­sing aim is to have a lea­dership and com­pen­sa­ti­on model befit­ting a modern com­pa­ny.

In 2019, we will also update the stra­te­gic core pro­ces­ses for the Board of Direc­tors, com­mit­tees and the Swiss Prime Site Group. My ambi­ti­on is to use the­se boards and com­mit­tees to leverage the exi­sting know­ledge and exper­ti­se wit­hin the com­pa­ny, enab­ling it to per­me­a­te through the struc­tu­re and the group com­pa­nies, ther­e­by con­tri­bu­ting to their com­mer­ci­al suc­cess. This will make us more resi­li­ent, able to shape our future with even grea­ter agi­li­ty and vigour.