AVEVA is increasingly adopting technology in a complex world that is changing at an accelerating rate. Whilst the Covid-19 pandemic is causing economic uncertainty for all businesses, we are an organisation with a long-term vision and, as such, we continuously develop and review strategies to deliver real sustainable value for all our stakeholders. This will be of even greater importance in an environment where the certainties are shifting and the risks are great. During the past year the Board met many of our people working at different levels throughout the Company. This has informed our assessment of the internal talent pool, allowed us to gauge corporate culture and we gained a greater depth of insight into the challenges and opportunities affecting the Company as a whole. These engagements leave us in no doubt about the strength of AVEVA and its ability to continue to adapt to fast-changing conditions.
A resilient Board to steer AVEVA towards success
Our Board composition provides clear leadership, strong governance and effective decision-making to achieve our strategic goals. It includes international business leaders and industry professionals and brings together a wide range of backgrounds, skills, experience and perspectives. Its composition is in line with our strategy of having a strong and robust Board ensuring that it is equipped to effectively address the changes, opportunities and risks in our business. In March 2020 we announced that Emmanuel Babeau would step down as Non-Executive Director, Vice Chairman of the Board and member of the Remuneration Committee, following his resignation from Schneider Electric. In accordance with the terms of the Relationship Agreement, Schneider Electric appointed Olivier Blum to the Board. Olivier is a highly accomplished executive and has in-depth knowledge and experience gained from his various strategic and operational roles within HR and Strategy. His appointment has already proven to be of great benefit to the Board and the Remuneration Committee. Peter Herweck took over as Vice Chairman of the Board and I thank him for taking on these additional responsibilities. On behalf of the Board, I would like to reiterate our thanks to Emmanuel for his commitment and support during his tenure, in particular, he was instrumental in bringing about the combination of heritage AVEVA and the Schneider Electric industrial software business and has made a significant contribution to the subsequent successful integration programme.
Throughout the year the Board has been mindful of the new 2018 Corporate Governance Code (the Code) and the FRC’s Guidance on Board Effectiveness and it continues to keep under review implementation of best practice processes. In this Report we describe how the Board and its Committees worked on behalf of all stakeholders, driving the culture necessary for AVEVA to achieve its strategic goals, and how we discharged our statutory duties and oversight functions. I hope this section of the report will help you gain a better understanding of the effectiveness of our Board and how we apply the principles of the Code. As a result of the Code, the Board’s corporate calendar has been updated and we focused on refining our purpose and values, embedding our preferred culture, engaging with stakeholders and aligning all these activities with our strategic goals. We also continued to evolve our corporate governance reporting to respond to changing requirements in the UK, driven not only by the Code but also by other legislative requirements which now apply to large UK companies. The Board has been supported throughout the year by its Committees which have also taken on new responsibilities under the Code. A summary of how each Committee has approached these can be found in the specific Committee reports. A key consideration during the past year, as part of our enhanced stakeholder engagement activity, has been the long-term social and economic benefits that we bring to local communities. We recognise that our long-term, sustainable success depends upon attracting and developing the best talent to manage the ever-increasing complexity of our business, and forming long-term relationships with our customers and suppliers. In this regard, many of our employees have enjoyed taking part in our Action for Good activities by going out into the communities in which we operate to provide direct tangible help to those individuals and organisations in most need. For more information on this and our impact on wider communities, please see pages 36–37.
During the year our Nomination Committee oversaw an externally facilitated review of the effectiveness of the Board. Although under the Code we were not required to have an externally-facilitated evaluation this year, the Board was eager to understand the effectiveness of the Board post the combination with the Schneider Electric industrial software business and to address any areas of development. A full report on the outcomes of the evaluation can be found on pages 70–71. The past year has proven to the Board the resilience of AVEVA, the dedication and motivation of its Executive Leadership Team (ELT), and the abilities of its employees. On behalf of my Board colleagues I would like to extend my sincere thanks to all of them.
Philip Aiken AM
9 June 2020
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