Novartis (No. 2 on the DiversityInc Top 50 Companies list) shareholders today agreed to the Board of Directors' recommendations for all proposed resolutions at the Group's Annual General Meeting (AGM). A total of 1,805 shareholders were present at the meeting held in Basel, representing approximately 60,6% of the issued shares of Novartis.
Shareholders approved the 20th consecutive dividend increase per share since the creation of Novartis in 1996, with an increase of 2% to CHF 2.75 for 2016. Payment for the 2016 dividend will be made on March 6, 2017. The dividend for 2016 is an approximately 69% payout of free cash flow, reinforcing the Company's commitment to a strong dividend yield.
Annual re-election and election of Members of the Board
Shareholders re-elected Dr. Joerg Reinhardt as Chairman of the Board of Directors, and all members of the Board, for one year. In addition, shareholders elected Frans van Houten as a new member of the Board of Directors.
In addition, shareholders re-elected the following members of the Board of Directors to the Compensation Committee for one year: Srikant Datar, Ph.D., Ann Fudge, Enrico Vanni, Ph.D. and William T. Winters. The Committee will be chaired by Mr. Vanni.
In line with the Board of Director's recommendation, shareholders also approved the cancelation of 10,270,000 shares repurchased on the second trading line under the seventh share repurchase program in the financial year 2016 and to reduce the share capital accordingly by CHF 5,135,000, from CHF 1,313,557,410 to CHF 1,308,422,410.
Votes on Compensation for the Board of Directors and the Executive Committee
In two separate binding votes, shareholders approved the total maximum amount of compensation for the Board of Directors covering the period from the 2017 AGM to the 2018 AGM and the total maximum amount of compensation of the Executive Committee for 2018.
Furthermore, in an advisory vote, shareholders endorsed the 2016 Compensation Report. The Board of Directors and the Compensation Committee will review the feedback received by a number of investors and proxy advisors and ensure that compensation systems continue to be in the best interest of shareholders and the company.
For a detailed listing of all resolutions presented at the 2017 Annual General Meeting, please visit: https://www.novartis.com/sites/www.novartis.com/files/2016-novartis-agm-notice.pdf