The Board acknowledges that Said Darwazah holding the position of Chairman and Chief Executive Officer until February 2018 and, since that point, Executive Chairman, requires explanation under the UK Code. Other than the Executive Chairman position, the degree of direct engagement with the workforce regarding executive remuneration (which is discussed in the Remuneration report on page 84), and the Chief Executive Officer’s pension contribution level being 5% above the general workforce (which is discussed in the Remuneration report on page 84), throughout the year and up until the date of this report, Hikma was in full compliance with the UK Code. Should shareholders require any further information relating to these matters, questions may be directed to the Company Secretary (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Executive Chairman position
The Executive Chairman leads the Board of Directors of the Company in maximising the return for all shareholders. The Executive Chairman guides, oversees, and engages with the Chief Executive Officer in setting and delivering the strategic vision for the Company and optimising the Company’s long-term potential.
The Board acknowledges that Said Darwazah’s position as Executive Chairman, having previously served as Chief Executive Officer, and his tenure as a Director are departures from the UK Code.
The Executive Chairman role was created in February 2018, following the appointment of Siggi Olafsson as Chief Executive Officer. Previously, Said Darwazah was the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. The change of roles and appointment of a Chief Executive Officer has caused a reduction in Said’s executive responsibilities, whilst still retaining his strategic input. The Board considers that the transfer of responsibilities from Said to Siggi has been very successful and that the Chief Executive Officer has been fully empowered by the Executive Chairman. The Board considers it is important to retain corporate memory, important relationships and the family culture of the organisation. Therefore, it is essential to retain Said Darwazah’s services in a strategic capacity.
The Board consulted shareholders prior to Said’s appointment as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer in May 2014 and following the change to the position of Executive Chairman in February 2018. The Independent Non-Executive Directors met as a group twice during 2020 to review the Board structure and concluded that the Executive Chairman role should continue.
The Board is focused on the commercial success of Hikma and believes that continuing the position of Executive Chairman for a period of time is the best way to achieve success for Hikma, because:
– Continuity of strategy: Said Darwazah has been a driving force behind the strategic success of the business since 2007 and the Board believes that it is important for the continued success of the Group that he remains in a strategic role
– Executive Chairman’s role: the Executive Chairman position is highly visible inside and outside Hikma, acting as an ambassador with business partners and adviser to the organisation
– Business partners: a significant number of Hikma’s key political and commercial relationships across the MENA region are built on the long-term trust and respect for the Darwazah family where the role of the Executive Chairman remains key.
The Board continues to operate the following enhanced controls:
– Governance structure review: the Independent Directors meet at least bi-annually in a private session chaired by the Senior Independent Director. This meeting includes consideration of the appropriateness of the governance structure, the division of responsibilities between the Executive Chairman and the Chief Executive Officer and safeguards for shareholders
– Committee Chair roles: the Chairs of the Board Committees and the Director responsible for employee engagement, undertake a significant amount of work in the oversight of their responsibilities
– Transparency and engagement: Hikma has always had the highest regard for shareholders, with several of the original investors from before listing still investing and supporting Hikma today. Over the circa 15 years since flotation Hikma has maintained the highest standards of shareholder engagement, which reflects the importance placed in maintaining strong investor relations and governance
– Senior Independent Director role: the Senior Independent Director has joint responsibility, with the Executive Chairman, for setting the Board agenda, agreeing action points and the minutes of the meetings
Said Darwazah is non-executive chairman of Royal Jordanian Airlines (RJ). During 2020, RJ ceased to have a Chief Executive Officer resulting in Said undertaking authorisation duties to ensure that RJ management had authority to operate. The additional time commitment was minimal, Said’s role remained non-executive and no employee benefits were received as a result. The Board reviewed Said’s external commitments, including his role with RJ, and concluded that they did not affect his ability to fulfil his responsibilities to Hikma.
The Board rigorously reviewed and considered the independence of each Non-Executive Director during the year as part of the annual corporate governance review, which included consideration of progressive refreshment of the Board. The Board considers Pat Butler, Dr Pamela Kirby, John Castellani, Nina Henderson, Cynthia Schwalm and Douglas Hurt to be independent. These individuals provide extensive experience of international pharmaceutical, financial, corporate governance and regulatory matters and were not associated with Hikma prior to joining the Board.
The Board does not view Ali Al-Husry as an Independent Director due to the length of his association with Hikma, holding an executive position with Hikma prior to listing and his involvement with Darhold Limited, Hikma’s largest shareholder. However, he continues to bring to the Board broad corporate finance experience, in-depth awareness of the Group’s history, and a detailed knowledge of the MENA region, which is an important and specialist part of the Group’s business.
17 March 2021