Bayer to further strengthen expertise and international profile of its Supervisory Board
Fei-Fei Li and Alberto Weisser proposed as successors to Johanna Faber and Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Plischke / Supervisory Board compensation to be adjusted
Elections at the Annual Stockholders' Meeting on April 27, 2021:
Leverkusen, March 12, 2021 - Two representatives of the stockholders are to be put forward for election to the Bayer AG Supervisory Board at the company’s Annual Stockholders' Meeting on April 27, 2021. The independent candidates proposed for election are Prof. Dr. Fei-Fei Li (44), a leading expert in artificial intelligence and Professor in the Computer Science Department at Stanford University in California, and Alberto Weisser (65), a renowned agricultural expert with decades of capital market experience in the United States. These proposals for election are included in the Notice to the Annual Stockholders' Meeting, which was published on Friday. Li and Weisser are intended to succeed Johanna W. (Hanneke) Faber (51) and Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Plischke (69), who will not be seeking reelection after their terms of office expire at the end of this year’s Annual Stockholders' Meeting. Bayer’s stockholders will also vote on an adjustment to Supervisory Board compensation.
Li and Weisser are set to be elected for a term of four years. Bayer is thus making use of an option provided in its Articles of Incorporation that enables it to appoint Supervisory Board members for terms shorter than the maximum five years, while also taking into account investor expectations. The appointments of Li and Weisser would significantly further broaden the Supervisory Board's range of expertise and international profile. "We’re delighted to have secured the services of two outstanding people with international track records," said Supervisory Board Chairman Prof. Dr. Norbert Winkeljohann. "Fei-Fei Li is a leading scientist in the field of artificial intelligence in the United States with very broad interests, including health care. We see her experience in both scientific research and industry, for example at Google, as a major asset."
"We’re equally looking forward to working with Alberto Weisser," Winkeljohann added. "He has gained extensive agribusiness expertise and knowledge of the U.S. capital market - particularly during his many years as CEO and CFO of agribusiness and food company Bunge. This makes him an ideal candidate for Bayer’s Supervisory Board," Winkeljohann said.
Fei-Fei Li studied Physics, Computer Science and Engineering at Princeton University, where she gained a B.A. in 1999. She then received a Master in Electrical Engineering from the California Institute of Technology in 2003, and a PhD in Electrical Engineering in 2005. Between 2005 and 2009, she worked as an Assistant Professor in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department of the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, and as an Assistant Professor of Computer Science at Princeton University. Li became Assistant Professor at Stanford University in 2009, before being promoted to Associate Professor in 2012 with tenure and Professor in 2017. Between 2013 and 2018, she served as Director of the Stanford Artificial Intelligence Lab (SAIL), and in 2018 she co-founded Stanford’s Human-Centered AI Institute (HAI) and became Co-Director. During a sabbatical from her work at Stanford, she served as Vice President at Google and Chief Scientist of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) at Google Cloud from January 2017 to September 2018. She then returned to Stanford as a Professor in the Computer Science Department, a role she continues to hold today. In 2020, she was appointed as a non-executive Member of the Board of Directors of Twitter Inc., United States. Li is also known for her nonprofit work as cofounder and Chairperson of AI4ALL, an organization whose mission is to educate the next generation of AI technologists, thinkers and leaders by promoting diversity and inclusion through human-centered AI principles. Li is an elected Member of the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) and National Academy of Medicine (NAM) in the United States, among her other distinctions. Li is a U.S. citizen.
Alberto Weisser was born in São Paulo, Brazil, where he obtained a B.A. in Business Administration. He started his career in 1978 at BASF, where he held various finance-related positions in Brazil, Germany, the United States and Mexico. He joined Bunge in 1993, where he initially held finance management positions in Brazil and the United States before assuming the role of CFO of Bunge Limited in the United States in 1995. He became CEO in 1999 and then took on the additional role of Chairman two years later. He held this position until 2013. During this time, he successfully turned the regional, family-owned company into a global player. In 2009, Weisser became a Member of the Board of Directors of the Americas Society, a nonprofit organization that is committed to economic and social development, open markets, the rule of law, and democracy throughout the Western Hemisphere. He has also served as a non-executive Member of the Board of Directors of PepsiCo Inc. since 2011 and its Audit Committee Chairman since 2016, and as a Senior Consultant and Member of the Americas Advisory Panel of Temasek International Pte. Ltd. since 2016. Weisser is a citizen of three countries - the United States, Germany and Brazil - and speaks English, German, Portuguese and Spanish.
The departure of Wolfgang Plischke, who served as member of the Board of Management for Innovation, Technology and Sustainability between 2006 and 2014, marks the end of a Bayer career spanning around 40 years. "Wolfgang Plischke and the extensive expertise he possesses have been of great service to Bayer in the variety of positions he has held. We’d like to thank him for his great dedication and wish him all the best for the future," said Winkeljohann. "Our special thanks also go to Johanna Faber for the excellent and trustful cooperation - she brought many new ideas to the Supervisory Board and was a great asset to us in our work."
Ensuring Supervisory Board compensation remains competitive
Another item on the agenda of the Annual Stockholders' Meeting is the adjustment of Supervisory Board compensation, which was last raised in 2017. A review conducted in early 2021 with the assistance of an independent external compensation expert revealed that, at its current level, Supervisory Board compensation is no longer in line with market conditions and the demands made on a Bayer Supervisory Board member, which have grown considerably in recent years. However, the company needs to offer a competitive level of compensation to ensure that, going forward, the Supervisory Board will continue to be composed of well-qualified, internationally experienced corporate officers, as demanded by many investors. The Board of Management and Supervisory Board are therefore proposing to increase the compensation of Supervisory Board members in line with the market. The fixed annual compensation is set to rise from 132,000 euros to 160,000 euros, for example. There is also to be an overall reduction and greater differentiation in the additional compensation for service on committees in order to account for the differing workloads of the committees.
Bayer is a global enterprise with core competencies in the life science fields of health care and nutrition. Its products and services are designed to help people and planet thrive by supporting efforts to master the major challenges presented by a growing and aging global population. Bayer is committed to drive sustainable development and generate a positive impact with its businesses. At the same time, the Group aims to increase its earning power and create value through innovation and growth. The Bayer brand stands for trust, reliability and quality throughout the world. In fiscal 2020, the Group employed around 100,000 people and had sales of 41.4 billion euros. R&D expenses before special items amounted to 4.9 billion euros. For more information, go to www.bayer.com.
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The Notice to the Annual Stockholders’ Meeting of Bayer AG can be found here: www.bayer.com/stockholders-meeting
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