Board succession and diversity

Succession planning

Executive succession

As reported last year, in February 2018 the Committee completed its search for a new Chief Executive Officer (CEO). This resulted in Siggi Olafsson joining Hikma, becoming the first non-family CEO of Hikma. In late 2018, Siggi made some adjustments to the Executive Committee. As the changes become fully embedded and new team members become more established in their roles, the Committee will develop a new executive succession plan later in 2019, which will include the Executive Directors.

Independent succession

With the retirement of Dr Ronald Goode in May 2018, Hikma completed the 2014 succession plan which related to Independent Directors who joined when the Group listed. During 2018, the Committee developed new arrangements for the succession of the current Independent Directors and considered candidates for additional appointments, with a particular emphasis on gaining additional US healthcare experience, as well as enhancing gender diversity. This process led to the appointment of Cynthia Schwalm as an Independent Non-Executive Director with effect from 1 June 2019. The Committee is committed to ensuring an independent majority on the Board and enhancing diversity.

The Company Secretary has developed a tailored induction programme for Cynthia, including presentations and advice from external experts. During 2019, the Committee will further develop the plans for medium-term succession for the Independent Directors. This will include consideration of my roles, being the positions of Senior Independent Director and Chair of this Committee. 

The Committee’s policy on tenure is that the Independent Non-Executive Directors are normally expected to serve for a period of up to nine years. Their appointments are formally reviewed after three years and at six years a more rigorous review process is undertaken.


Hikma’s diversity policy applies to the whole Company, including the Board. Hikma’s inclusive workplace welcomes different cultures, perspectives, and experiences from across the globe. Hikma welcomes variety and treats all employees equally regardless of any actual or perceived characteristic. Hikma is committed to employing and engaging talented people, irrespective of their race, colour, religious creed, age, sex, marital status, national origin, present or past history of mental or physical disability and any other factors not related to a person’s ability to perform a role. Since its founding, Hikma has actively promoted gender diversity across its operations and continues to have excellent diversity in terms of culture, age, background, skills and experience. Hikma has successful empowerment and talent development programmes to help all employees make the most of their potential. This diversity policy has been included in our updated Code of Conduct and communicated to all employees. Further detail on employee diversity is provided in the Sustainability report.

The Committee was pleased to be able to improve gender diversity over the past few years, including the recent appointment of Cynthia Schwalm. The Committee considers that the current level of gender diversity needs to at least be maintained, if not enhanced. The Board has not set specific, measurable diversity objectives because it needs flexibility to recruit the right candidates. The Board considers that it has demonstrated strong ethnic diversity since the formation of Hikma and that this diversity continues to be evident today.