3. Working methods of the Executive Board and Supervisory Board and composition of the committees of the Supervisory Board; shareholders and Annual General Meeting

3.1  Working methods of the Executive Board

For most of 2022, the Executive Board of KION GROUP AG comprised five members, with the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) filling the vacant post of Chief Financial Officer (CFO) and Labor Relations Director on an interim basis from April 1, 2022 to the end of the reporting period. The Executive Board is responsible for managing the Company in the Company’s interest, i.e. taking account of shareholders, customers, employees, and other stakeholders with the aim of creating sustainable added value. It develops the Company’s strategy, discusses it with the Supervisory Board, and ensures that it is implemented. The Executive Board as a whole is collectively responsible for the Group’s business, determines the budget and the allocation of resources, and makes key operational decisions. Every Executive Board member is responsible for his or her own area of responsibility within the scope of the rules of procedure for the Executive Board and the defined thresholds for business transactions, and keeps the other Executive Board members informed of developments on an ongoing basis.

Responsibilities within the KION Executive Board as at December 31, 2022

Executive Board member

Areas of responsibility

Dr. Richard Robinson Smith

Corporate Office
Corporate Strategy
Corporate Communications
Business Transformation
Internal Audit

Dr. Richard Robinson Smith (interim)

CFO / Labor Relations Director KION GROUP AG
Corporate Accounting & Tax
Corporate Controlling
Corporate Finance/M&A
Corporate Human Resources
Corporate Compliance
Investor Relations
Finance KION SCS

Dr. Henry Puhl

Product Strategy & New Technologies
Product Creation Processes, Tools & Data
Module & Component Development
Product Development
New Energy
Sustainability & HSE
Mobile Automation

Andreas Krinninger


Ching Pong Quek

President KION ITS APAC & Americas

Hasan Dandashly

President KION SCS
KION Digital Solutions

In January 2022, Dr. Richard Robinson Smith took over the role of Chief Executive Officer of KION GROUP AG from Gordon Riske. The schedule of responsibilities for the Executive Board was amended in July 2022 due to the transfer of responsibility for KION Mobile Automation to the Chief Technology Officer. Marcus A. Wassenberg took over as Chief Financial Officer on January 1, 2023. The schedule of responsibilities was amended accordingly on January 1, 2023. Valeria Gargiulo will become Chief People & Sustainability Officer (CPSO) no later than May 1, 2023.

The rules of procedure laid down by the Supervisory Board define the areas of responsibility of the Executive Board members and the way in which they work together. The full Executive Board normally meets every 14 days and meetings are chaired by the Chief Executive Officer. Due to the international composition of the Executive Board and the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the meetings of the Executive Board in 2022 were mainly held in a hybrid format (i.e. with a combination of attendance in person and telephone / video conferencing). At the meetings, the board members discuss measures and business that, under the Executive Board’s rules of procedure, must be approved by the full Executive Board. Resolutions of the full Executive Board are passed by simple majority unless a greater majority is required by law. The Chief Executive Officer has a casting vote in the event of a tied vote. Resolutions of the Executive Board may also be adopted between meetings. All resolutions are documented. The Corporate Office carries out the preparations and follow-up work for all Executive Board meetings. Company employees regularly participate in the meetings as guests.

Taking account of the requirements of section 90 AktG, the Executive Board provides the Supervisory Board with regular, timely, and comprehensive information on all matters of relevance to the business as a whole relating to the intended operating policy, strategic planning, business performance, financial position, financial performance, and business risks. The Chief Executive Officer also discusses matters regularly with the chairman of the Supervisory Board, just as the CFO keeps in contact with the chairman of the Audit Committee. The Executive Board’s rules of procedure specify that important transactions are subject to approval by the Supervisory Board. Budget planning, major acquisitions, or capital expenditure, for example, require the consent of the Supervisory Board.

In accordance with its articles of association, the Company is represented by two members of the Executive Board or by one member of the Executive Board acting conjointly with a Prokurist (person with full commercial power of representation).

3.2  Working methods of the Supervisory Board

The Supervisory Board of KION GROUP AG appoints the members of the Executive Board and advises and monitors the Executive Board in its management of the Company. The Supervisory Board is fully involved from an early stage in all decisions that are fundamental to KION GROUP AG. There is also a list of transactions for which the Executive Board requires approval. The Executive Board and Supervisory Board of KION GROUP AG have a close and trusting working relationship focused on ensuring the sustained success of the Company. The Supervisory Board also met regularly without the Executive Board during the reporting period.

The Supervisory Board of KION GROUP AG consists of 16 members, eight of whom are employee representatives and eight are shareholder representatives. The shareholder representatives are elected by the Annual General Meeting by simple majority. The eight employee representatives are elected by the employees in accordance with the German Codetermination Act.

The Supervisory Board has drawn up rules of procedure for its work that apply in addition to the requirements of the articles of association of KION GROUP AG. They were last amended on December 14, 2022. These rules of procedure are published on the KION GROUP AG website. According to these rules, the chairman of the Supervisory Board coordinates its work and the cooperation with the Executive Board, chairs the meetings of the Supervisory Board, and represents it externally. The Supervisory Board generally meets in person at least twice in each half of a calendar year, and adopts its resolutions at these meetings. In 2022, there were eight Supervisory Board meetings in total. The focus of the Supervisory Board’s advisory activities in 2022 is set out in detail in the Supervisory Board’s report to the Annual General Meeting along with information about meeting attendance. Between these meetings, resolutions may also be adopted in writing, by telephone, or by other similar forms of voting, provided that the chairman of the Supervisory Board or, in his absence, his deputy, decides on this procedure for the individual case concerned. The Supervisory Board adopts resolutions by a simple majority of the votes cast unless a different procedure is prescribed by law. If a vote is tied, the matter will only be renegotiated if the majority of the Supervisory Board vote in favor of this option. Otherwise the Board must vote again without delay. If this new vote on the same matter also results in an equal number of votes for and against, the chairman of the Supervisory Board has a casting vote.

Ahead of Supervisory Board meetings, the employee representatives regularly meet with the Executive Board in order to hold preliminary discussions without the presence of the shareholder representatives. The shareholder representatives hold such preliminary discussions with the Executive Board as and when required.

3.3  Corporate governance in the Executive Board and Supervisory Board

In 2022, the Executive Board and the Supervisory Board (or its committees) regularly discussed corporate governance issues in accordance with a rolling schedule of topics. This ensured that the key elements of corporate governance within the KION Group were always on the agenda at meetings of the Company’s main decision-making bodies. The Supervisory Board in particular complied with the supervisory duties incumbent upon it under the German Stock Corporation Act. The Supervisory Board’s Audit Committee, which was appointed to support this task in relation to finance, accounting, and auditing, received regular reports on the accounting standards and associated processes, on changes to the regulatory environment and the internal control and risk management systems, and on the audit of financial statements and the effectiveness and quality of this, and then reported back to the Supervisory Board on these matters.

3.4  Self-assessment by the Supervisory Board

The Supervisory Board regularly assesses the effectiveness of its work and that of its committees (self-assessment), with support from an external advisor if required. Following on from the previous effectiveness reviews in 2015 and 2018, the Supervisory Board last carried out a self-assessment in 2021 in order to review its work and that of its committees with the support of an external advisor. The findings of these self-assessments are routinely reported on at full meetings of the Supervisory Board. Any identified need for improvement is actioned. The organizational arrangements and processes for the Supervisory Board's work are updated on an ongoing basis.

The Supervisory Board will in all probability carry out its next self-assessment in 2024.

3.5  Working methods and composition of the committees of the Supervisory Board

Some of the Supervisory Board's work is carried out by committees. KION GROUP AG’s Supervisory Board had five standing committees in the reporting year. Except for the Remuneration Committee and Nomination Committee, they all have an equal number of shareholder and employee representatives. The composition and tasks of the committees are specified in the rules of procedure for the Supervisory Board. The committees' tasks, responsibilities, and work processes comply with the provisions of the German Stock Corporation Act and the GCGC.

The chairman of each committee reports regularly to the full Supervisory Board on the committee’s work. The minutes of the committee meetings are made available to all Supervisory Board members. The standing committees have each drawn up their own rules of procedure that define their tasks and working methods. Details of the committees' activities and working methods in 2022 can be found in the Supervisory Board report.

Executive Committee

The Executive Committee consists of four shareholder representatives and four employee representatives. Its chairman is always the chairman of the Supervisory Board. The main task of the Executive Committee is to prepare the meetings of the Supervisory Board and to handle ongoing matters between Supervisory Board meetings. Specifically, it prepares the Supervisory Board’s decisions relating to corporate governance, particularly amendments to the annual declaration of conformity pursuant to section 161 AktG reflecting changed circumstances and the checking of adherence to the declaration of conformity that has been issued. The Executive Committee also prepares documents for the Supervisory Board regarding personnel measures affecting Executive Board members and, if applicable, when a new Chief Executive Officer is to be appointed. In addition, it is responsible for resolutions concerning the conclusion, amendment, and termination of Executive Board employment contracts and agreements with Executive Board members governing pensions, severance packages, consultancy, and other matters and for resolutions on any matters arising as a result of such contracts and agreements, unless they relate to remuneration. In consultation with the Executive Board, the Executive Committee regularly discusses long-term succession planning for the Executive Board. The responsibilities of the Executive Committee also include resolutions about the extension of loans to Executive Board members, Supervisory Board members, and parties related to them within the meaning of sections 89 and 115 AktG, as well as resolutions to approve contracts with Supervisory Board members outside their Supervisory Board remit.

Members of the Executive Committee as at December 31, 2022:

  • Dr. Michael Macht (chairman)
  • Özcan Pancarci (deputy chairman)
  • Dr. Alexander Dibelius
  • Jiang Kui
  • Jörg Milla
  • Hans Peter Ring
  • Alexandra Schädler
  • Claudia Wenzel

The chairman of the Executive Committee, Dr. Michael Macht, is a Supervisory Board member who is independent of the Company and Executive Board.

Mediation Committee

The Mediation Committee comprises the chairman of the Supervisory Board, his deputy, an employee representative, and a shareholder representative. It only convenes in exceptional cases if a resolution concerning the appointment or dismissal of an Executive Board member by the Supervisory Board is not approved with the majority specified by law. If the two-thirds-of-votes majority required by section 27 (3) and section 31 (3) MitbestG is not reached in a vote by the Supervisory Board on the appointment of an Executive Board member, the Mediation Committee must propose candidates for the post to the Supervisory Board within one month. The chairman of the Supervisory Board does not have a casting vote on the candidates proposed.

Members of the Mediation Committee as at December 31, 2022:

  • Dr. Michael Macht (chairman)
  • Özcan Pancarci (deputy chairman)
  • Jörg Milla
  • Hans Peter Ring

Audit Committee

The Audit Committee comprises four members, all of which are elected by the Supervisory Board. Its primary purpose is to monitor financial reporting (including non-financial reporting), the accounting process, the effectiveness of the internal control system, the risk management system, the internal audit system, the auditing of the financial statements, and compliance, thereby supporting the Supervisory Board in its task of monitoring the Company’s management. The Audit Committee also reviews the work carried out by the independent auditors and checks that the independent auditors are qualified and independent. It is responsible for preparing the engagement of the independent auditors, determining the focus of the audit, and agreeing the fee. On a regular basis, the Audit Committee evaluates and reviews the quality of the audit and discusses with the auditors the assessment of the audit risk, the audit strategy, the audit planning, and the audit findings. It advises and monitors the Executive Board with regard to the sustainability topics of relevance to the Company in the areas environment, social, and corporate governance (ESG). These topics include the Company's sustainability strategy, the sustainability-related opportunities, risks, and objectives of the Company's business activities, and sustainability reporting and its auditing. The further expansion of sustainability management is a particular priority. This can be understood as the structures and processes that will help to systematically develop and anchor the social, environmental, and economic aspects of sustainability within the Company. It also prepares all Supervisory Board resolutions required in this regard. In addition, the Audit Committee exercises the rights in investee companies set forth in section 32 (1) MitbestG.

The Supervisory Board also routinely holds discussions with the auditors that do not include the Executive Board.

Outside of the Supervisory Board and Audit Committee meetings, and without the involvement of representatives from KION GROUP AG, the chairman of the Audit Committee and the independent auditors hold quarterly discussions on the latest developments in the Company and the findings from the audit.

The heads of the internal audit and corporate compliance departments regularly report to the chairman of the Audit Committee outside the Audit Committee meetings and without the participation of the Executive Board.

Members of the Audit Committee as at December 31, 2022:

  • Hans Peter Ring (chairman)
  • Alexandra Schädler (deputy chairwoman)
  • Dr. Michael Macht
  • Jörg Milla

The members of the Supervisory Board's Audit Committee are all familiar with the sector in which KION Group operates. The Supervisory Board member and chairman of the Audit Committee, Hans Peter Ring, is a Supervisory Board member who is independent of the Company, the Executive Board, and the controlling shareholder. The many years of service he has given as a CFO for large companies – some of which are publicly listed – mean that he has the required expertise in accounting specified in section 100 (5) alt. 1 and section 107 (4) AktG. Another member of the Supervisory Board and Audit Committee, Ms. Alexandra Schädler, has the required expertise in auditing specified in section 100 (5) alt. 2 and section 107 (4) AktG on account of her long period of service for a major auditing firm. Their expertise also relates to sustainability reporting and its auditing. Appropriate training is provided on an ongoing basis in order to deepen and expand the expertise of the Audit Committee members – as well as the Supervisory Board as a whole – in the field of sustainability and sustainability reporting and its auditing. In 2022, the Supervisory Board and, in particular, the Audit Committee, participated in several dedicated sessions where they were provided with in-depth information on the sustainability topics of relevance to the Company and on the ESG-related requirements and real-world practices of listed companies in Germany and other jurisdictions, in some cases with the support of external advisors. Further training is planned for the first half of 2023.

Remuneration Committee

The Remuneration Committee, which was formed in March 2021, comprises five members. Three of its members are shareholder representatives and two are employee representatives. It is always chaired by the chairman of the Supervisory Board. The Remuneration Committee focuses mainly on issues relating to the Executive Board’s remuneration but also deals with the annual remuneration report and the preparations for the report’s approval by the Annual General Meeting. It also prepares all Supervisory Board resolutions required in this regard, especially in connection with the Executive Board members' variable remuneration components (setting of targets and target achievement for the short-term and long-term bonuses).

Members of the Remuneration Committee as at December 31, 2022:

  • Dr. Michael Macht (chairman)
  • Özcan Pancarci (deputy chairman)
  • Jiang Kui
  • Hans Peter Ring
  • Alexandra Schädler

Nomination Committee

The Nomination Committee has four members, all of whom are shareholder representatives and are elected by the shareholder representatives on the Supervisory Board. The Nomination Committee’s task is to propose candidates for the election of shareholder representatives on the Supervisory Board to the Company’s Annual General Meeting.

Members of the Nomination Committee as at December 31, 2022:

  • Dr. Michael Macht (chairman)
  • Dr. Alexander Dibelius (deputy chairman)
  • Birgit A. Behrendt
  • Jiang Kui

3.6   Shareholders and Annual General Meeting

The shareholders of KION GROUP AG exercise their rights during the Annual General Meeting, i.e. their right to speak and their right to vote. Every shareholder is entitled to participate in the Annual General Meeting.

Each share confers one vote in the voting at the Annual General Meeting. Shareholders can either exercise their voting rights themselves or appoint a third party to exercise their voting rights for them. The Executive Board is authorized to determine that shareholders can cast their votes in writing or by means of electronic communication (absentee voting). Resolutions of the Annual General Meeting require a simple majority of the votes cast, unless stipulated otherwise by mandatory provisions of law.

The Annual General Meeting is held annually in the first eight months of the financial year. The chairman of the Supervisory Board chairs the Annual General Meeting. The agenda for the Annual General Meeting, including the reports and documents requested for the Annual General Meeting, are published on the Company's website.

The Annual General Meeting votes on all matters that it is required to vote on by law, primarily the appropriation of profit, the election of Supervisory Board members, formal approval of the acts of the Supervisory Board and Executive Board members, the appointment of the independent auditors, changes to the Company's articles of association, and corporate actions.

The Annual General Meeting in 2022 was, as in 2021, held as a virtual event without the physical presence of the shareholders or their proxies due to the special circumstances created by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. This was in accordance with section 1 (1) and (2) of the German Act Concerning Measures Under the Law of Companies, Cooperative Societies, Associations, Foundations and Commonhold Property to Combat the Effects of the COVID-19 Pandemic (COVID-19 Act). The shareholders and their proxies were able to submit their questions in writing via a password-protected web service provided by the Company up to one day before the Annual General Meeting. The Company answered all submitted questions in a structured manner by category.