Nicolas ver Hulst, Chairman of the Supervisory Board.
What is your assessment of the 2018 financial year? More specifically, what is your perspective on the development of Bureau Veritas?
NVH. 2018 was an important year for the Group due to all the simplification work done. Wendel sold many assets which did not fully align with the Group’s size and ambition. Today, our assets mainly comprise “star” companies which are solid, hold outstanding strategic positions, and are profitable and growing. We are pleased that Bureau Veritas has resumed organic growth. We have full confidence in its prospects: the company is Wendel’s flagship and we are proud to be its controlling shareholder, as we have been for 24 years. Bureau Veritas’s services meet a simple but crucial need: that of a trusted third party. This need exists across most industries (shipbuilding, infrastructure, consumer goods, commodities, etc.) making Bureau Veritas a highly diversified major global group. In addition, there is another dimension to Bureau Veritas, which is the increasing technical aspect of its services.
What relations have been established with management?
NVH. The key words for the Supervisory Board are clarity and dialogue. The Supervisory Board appoints members of the Executive Board, determines their compensation, reviews the accuracy of Wendel’s financial statements by controlling the process of preparing financial information, and participates in defining the company’s strategy. What it does not do is manage the company. But it works in full transparency with management, which, I believe, is fundamental. I would like to emphasize that the Supervisory Board and the Executive Board work together closely, and I am grateful to management for their dedication and the quality of our relationship.
Credit: Henrike Stahl