La Ley de Sociedades de Capital regula, en el Capítulo VII del Título XIV, las especialidades del órgano de administración en las Sociedades cotizadas. Posiblemente sea muy interesante también para las no cotizadas adoptar algunas medidas para mejorar la funcionalidad del Consejo y reducir la responsabilidad.

1. Composición del Consejo de Administración

1.1 Consejeros

Los consejeros se dividen en ejecutivos, dominicales e independientes (art. 529 duodecies):

a) Son consejeros ejecutivos los que, adicionalmente, desempeñan funciones de dirección, independientemente del vínculo jurídico que los una a la sociedad.

b) Son consejeros dominicales quienes posean una participación accionarial igual o superior a la considerada legalmente o por decisión de los socios como significativa o que hubieran sido designados por su condición de accionistas, aunque su participación accionarial no alcance dicha cuantía, así como quienes representen a accionistas de los anteriormente señalados.

c) Son consejeros independientes los que se eligen atendiendo a su capacitación profesional, solvencia y experiencia (desarrollados más adelante).

Los miembros del Consejo de Administración de una sociedad cotizada serán nombrados por la Junta General de Accionistas o, en caso de vacante anticipada, por el propio consejo por cooptación.

La propuesta de nombramiento o reelección de los miembros del Consejo de Administración corresponde a la Comisión de Nombramientos y Retribuciones, si se trata de consejeros independientes, y al propio consejo, en los demás casos (art. 529 decies LSC).

El plazo de duración del cargo será el establecido en los Estatutos, sin que pueda exceder de cuatro años. Los consejeros pueden ser reelegidos una o varias veces por periodos de igual duración máxima (art. 529 undecies LSC).

La composición tiene que ser diversa en género, experiencia y conocimiento.  En relación al género se debe procurar una composición equilibrada, lo que supone, en suma, que las personas de cada sexo no superen en ellos el 60% ni sean menos del 40% (DA 1ª LO 3/2007, para la igualdad efectiva de hombres y mujeres)[1].

1.2 Presidente

Por lo que respecta al Presidente del Consejo de Administración, será designado por el propio Consejo de entre sus miembros, previo informe de la Comisión de nombramientos y retribuciones.

El cargo de Presidente se puede limitar en estatutos separando el cargo de éste y el de consejero ejecutivo.

Cuando el cargo de Presidente y de consejero ejecutivo coincida en una misma persona, se deberán cumplir los siguientes requisitos (art. 529 septies LSC). Separación de cargos:

  1. Voto favorable de los dos tercios de los miembros del Consejo de Administración para la designación del Presidente.
  2. Nombramiento de un consejero coordinador de entre los consejeros independientes, con la abstención de los consejeros ejecutivos.

El consejero coordinador, estará facultado para solicitar la convocatoria del Consejo de Administración o la inclusión de nuevos puntos en el orden del día de un Consejo y dirigir, en su caso, la evaluación periódica del Presidente del Consejo de Administración.

2. Organización interna y normas de funcionamiento

 

El Consejo tiene que:

  • Aprobar su Reglamento de funcionamiento, publicarlo en la página web corporativa, inscribirlo en el Registro Mercantil e incorporarlo en la web de la CNMV (art. 528 y 529 LSC).
  • Constituir al menos dos comisiones consultivas: la Comisión de Auditoría y la Comisión de Nombramientos y Retribuciones[2] (art. 529 terdecies LSC).
  • Realizar una evaluación anual de su funcionamiento y el de sus comisiones y proponer un plan de acción para corregir las deficiencias ( 529 nonies LSC).
  • Cumplir con los deberes de diligencia y lealtad (arts. 225 a 229 LSC).

Uno de los aspectos más importantes de la reforma de la Ley de Sociedades de Capital por la Ley 31/2014 es la incorporación de la doctrina “business judgement rule” (art. 226 LSC)[3] que consiste en la exoneración de responsabilidad por las decisiones tomadas conforme a criterios de estrategia empresarial y cumpliendo los requisitos derivados del deber de diligencia (“duty of care”), es decir, que los Consejeros no son responsables por el riesgo estrictamente empresarial.

3. Mención especial a los consejeros independientes

 

La incorporación de Consejeros independientes es muy recomendable en todo tipo de sociedades. Los consejeros independientes no están vinculados con el equipo de gestión de la sociedad ni poseen acciones de control. Se caracterizan por su experiencia, competencia y prestigio. La incorporación de un consejero independiente puede dar un nuevo punto de vista al órgano de gobierno y mejorar la capacidad del consejo para desarrollar sus labores.

¿Qué valor puede aportar un Consejero independiente?

 

Aporta al Consejo la capacidad para examinar con distancia e imparcialidad la labor que desarrollan los directivos de la empresa, por lo que se recomienda que el número de consejeros independientes represente, al menos, la mitad del total[4].

Los Consejeros independientes son capaces de familiarizarse con las herramientas legales y los problemas de la sociedad rápidamente. Pueden estimular al resto de los miembros del órgano de administración e iniciar cualquier debate. Otros beneficios de contar con un Consejero independiente son:

  1. Conocimiento especializado.
  2. Experiencia cultural y tablas de líder.
  3. Opinión objetiva y no política.
  4. Mediador, neutralidad y coach de negocios.
  5. Negociación, compensación, incentivos y otros acuerdos ejecutivos.
  6. Credibilidad y reputación.
  7. Capacidad para resolver conflictos de intereses.

 Conclusiones

 

Poco a poco se ha ido definiendo cuál es la composición más equilibrada del Consejo de Administración de una sociedad cotizada. Dada la importante de este órgano, debe tener una composición estable para su mayor eficiencia. La designación o aumento del número de consejeros independientes se considerable muy favorable en el mercado y la confianza de los inversores será mayor cuanto mayor sea la reputación de los seleccionados. Por todo ello, las sociedades no cotizadas deberían incorporar progresivamente estas mejoras en su Gobierno Corporativo.

 

[1] El artículo 75 de la Ley Orgánica 3/2007, de 22 de marzo, para la igualdad efectiva de mujeres y hombre establece la participación de las mujeres en los Consejos de administración de las sociedades mercantiles: “Las sociedades (…) procurarán incluir en su Consejo de administración un número de mujeres que permita alcanzar una presencia equilibrada de mujeres y hombres (…)

[2] Tienen algunas particularidades como la prohibición de que formen parte de ellas los consejeros ejecutivos y que sean presididas obligatoriamente por un consejero independiente (art. 529 quaterdecies LSC)

[3] Es decir, se incorpora un nuevo planteamiento en materia de deberes (y por ende responsabilidad) de los administradores sociales, de modo que se flexibiliza el deber de diligencia y toma posición central el deber de lealtad.

[4] Código de Buen Gobierno de las Sociedades Cotizadas (CNMV, febrero 2015).

 

The Law of capital companies (Ley de Sociedades de capital – LSC) regulates notable aspects of the board of directors of listed companies. It would be very interesting to apply those measures to non-listed companies in order to improve its functionality and to reduce responsibilities.

1. Board of Directors Composition

    1.1. Directors

The directors are divided into executive directors, proprietary directors and independent directors (Article. 529 duodecies):

  1. Executive members are those who perform functions of management, regardless of the legal nature of the links they have with the company.
  2. Proprietary directors are those who keep a share ownership in the company of equal or greater value to the legally established or by decision of the partners. Proprietary directors are also those who were appointed due to their shareholder condition (or their representatives) even if they do not have the referred share ownership value.
  3. Independent directors: They are chosen according to their profession ability, financial solvency and experience (This issue will be discussed below).

The board of director’s members of a listed company will be appointed by the general shareholder´s meeting, except in the cases of appointment by the board of directors through co-optation to fill vacancies.

The appointment proposal or re-appointment of the board of director´s members (independent directors) is carried out by the appointment and remuneration committee, in all other cases, the same board of directors will assume this work (article 529 decies LSC).

The term of the position of the director appointed will be established by the Company statues which may not exceed four years. It is possible to re-appoint the directors once or more within the same maximum periods (article. 529 undecies LSC).

In addition to being impartial, the board of directors must be balanced in their gender and regional composition. A balanced representation is defined as one in which the members of both should neither exceed 60% nor be less than 40% (DA 1ª Organic Law 3/2007 on effective equality of women and men [1].

1.2. The Chairman

The chairman of the board of directors will be appointed by the board of director´s members acting on a report of the appointment and remuneration committee.

The chairman position may be limited in the company statutes separating this position to the executive director position.

When the abovementioned positions (chairmanship and chief executive officer) are held by the same person, the subsequent requirements should be followed (article. 529 septies LSC). Separation of positions:

  • The chairman appointment will require at least two-thirds of the members of the board to have voted in favour thereof.
  • The appointment of a coordinator (one of the independent directors) with the abstention of the executive directors
  • The coordinator director will be entitled to request the calling of board director’s meeting or the inclusion of new items on the agenda and to lead, if it is the case, the periodic assessment on the performance of the chairman of the Board of Directors.

2. Internal organization and functioning

The board of directors must to:

  • To approve its internal operating regulation, to publish it on the corporate website, to register it in the Commercial Register and to include it in the CNMV web page (article 528 y 529 LSC).
  • The Committee has the option of setting up at least two consultative commissions: The audit committee and the appointment and remuneration committee. [2] (article. 529 terdecies LSC).
  • To carry out a yearly performance appraisal of both the Board and its commissions and to draw up an action plan to remedy the shortcomings identified. (529 nonies LSC).
  • To perform its statutory duties of diligence and loyalty (articles 225 a 229 LSC).

One of the most important aspects of the Law of capital companies reform made by the Law 31/2014, is the inclusion of the theory “business judgement rule” (art. 226 LSC)[3] which consists in the liability exemption on the basis of decisions taken under the company´s strategy criteria and fulfilling all the requirements resulting from the duty of diligence (“duty of care”), as we can see, the directors are not directly responsible for entrepreneurial risks.

3. Special mention to independent directors

It is recommended the inclusion of independent directors in all types of entities. The independent directors are not linked to the management team and they don’t have control shares either. They are distinguished in keeping with their experience, competence and position. The inclusion of an independent director may bring a new point of view to the board of directors, improving its perform.

¿What is the added value of an independent director?

To examine with proper impartiality carried out by the directors of the company, therefore, it is recommended a number of independent directors from at least a half of the total members [4].

The independent directors are capable of adapting to the legal issues of the company easily. They can stimulate others members of the board of directors. Other benefits that the inclusion of independent members provides:

  • Specialized expertise.
  • Cultural experience and leadership.
  • Objective opinion. Not a politic one.
  • Mediator, neutrality and coach business.
  • Negotiation, compensation, incentives and executive agreements.
  • Credibility and reputation.
  • Ability to resolve conflicts.

Conclusions:

Step by step, the more balanced composition for the board of directors of a listed company have been showed. Regarding the importance of the board of directors, it is absolutely necessary a stable composition to reach efficiency. The inclusion or the increase of the number of independent members will favours the company causing the increase of investors trust. Given the above, it is concluded that non-listed companies must include progressively this potential improvements into its corporate governance.

 [1] The article 75 of the organic Law 3/2007, March 22th, on effective equality of women and men provides women’s participation in the board of directors of the commercial companies: “the societies (…) shall endeavor to include in its board of directors a number of women which allows to reach balance between women and men (…)”.

[2] One of its features is the legal ban of the executive members and it is compulsory to be moderated by an independent director (article 529 quaterdecies LSC).

[3] Which means, the inclusion of a new duty’s theory (thereby, liability) of the directors. In that sense, the duty of care is made more flexible and the duty of loyalty takes more relevance.

[4] Good Governance Code of Listed Companies (CNMV, February of 2015).

[:nl]

The Law of capital companies (Ley de Sociedades de capital – LSC) regulates notable aspects of the board of directors of listed companies. It would be very interesting to apply those measures to non-listed companies in order to improve its functionality and to reduce responsibilities.

1. Board of Directors Composition

    1.1. Directors

The directors are divided into executive directors, proprietary directors and independent directors (Article. 529 duodecies):

  1. Executive members are those who perform functions of management, regardless of the legal nature of the links they have with the company.
  2. Proprietary directors are those who keep a share ownership in the company of equal or greater value to the legally established or by decision of the partners. Proprietary directors are also those who were appointed due to their shareholder condition (or their representatives) even if they do not have the referred share ownership value.
  3. Independent directors: They are chosen according to their profession ability, financial solvency and experience (This issue will be discussed below).

The board of director’s members of a listed company will be appointed by the general shareholder´s meeting, except in the cases of appointment by the board of directors through co-optation to fill vacancies.

The appointment proposal or re-appointment of the board of director´s members (independent directors) is carried out by the appointment and remuneration committee, in all other cases, the same board of directors will assume this work (article 529 decies LSC).

The term of the position of the director appointed will be established by the Company statues which may not exceed four years. It is possible to re-appoint the directors once or more within the same maximum periods (article. 529 undecies LSC).

In addition to being impartial, the board of directors must be balanced in their gender and regional composition. A balanced representation is defined as one in which the members of both should neither exceed 60% nor be less than 40% (DA 1ª Organic Law 3/2007 on effective equality of women and men [1].

1.2. The Chairman

The chairman of the board of directors will be appointed by the board of director´s members acting on a report of the appointment and remuneration committee.

The chairman position may be limited in the company statutes separating this position to the executive director position.

When the abovementioned positions (chairmanship and chief executive officer) are held by the same person, the subsequent requirements should be followed (article. 529 septies LSC). Separation of positions:

  • The chairman appointment will require at least two-thirds of the members of the board to have voted in favour thereof.
  • The appointment of a coordinator (one of the independent directors) with the abstention of the executive directors
  • The coordinator director will be entitled to request the calling of board director’s meeting or the inclusion of new items on the agenda and to lead, if it is the case, the periodic assessment on the performance of the chairman of the Board of Directors.

2. Internal organization and functioning

The board of directors must to:

  • To approve its internal operating regulation, to publish it on the corporate website, to register it in the Commercial Register and to include it in the CNMV web page (article 528 y 529 LSC).
  • The Committee has the option of setting up at least two consultative commissions: The audit committee and the appointment and remuneration committee. [2] (article. 529 terdecies LSC).
  • To carry out a yearly performance appraisal of both the Board and its commissions and to draw up an action plan to remedy the shortcomings identified. (529 nonies LSC).
  • To perform its statutory duties of diligence and loyalty (articles 225 a 229 LSC).

One of the most important aspects of the Law of capital companies reform made by the Law 31/2014, is the inclusion of the theory “business judgement rule” (art. 226 LSC)[3] which consists in the liability exemption on the basis of decisions taken under the company´s strategy criteria and fulfilling all the requirements resulting from the duty of diligence (“duty of care”), as we can see, the directors are not directly responsible for entrepreneurial risks.

3. Special mention to independent directors

It is recommended the inclusion of independent directors in all types of entities. The independent directors are not linked to the management team and they don’t have control shares either. They are distinguished in keeping with their experience, competence and position. The inclusion of an independent director may bring a new point of view to the board of directors, improving its perform.

¿What is the added value of an independent director?

To examine with proper impartiality carried out by the directors of the company, therefore, it is recommended a number of independent directors from at least a half of the total members [4].

The independent directors are capable of adapting to the legal issues of the company easily. They can stimulate others members of the board of directors. Other benefits that the inclusion of independent members provides:

  • Specialized expertise.
  • Cultural experience and leadership.
  • Objective opinion. Not a politic one.
  • Mediator, neutrality and coach business.
  • Negotiation, compensation, incentives and executive agreements.
  • Credibility and reputation.
  • Ability to resolve conflicts.

Conclusions:

Step by step, the more balanced composition for the board of directors of a listed company have been showed. Regarding the importance of the board of directors, it is absolutely necessary a stable composition to reach efficiency. The inclusion or the increase of the number of independent members will favours the company causing the increase of investors trust. Given the above, it is concluded that non-listed companies must include progressively this potential improvements into its corporate governance.

 [1] The article 75 of the organic Law 3/2007, March 22th, on effective equality of women and men provides women’s participation in the board of directors of the commercial companies: “the societies (…) shall endeavor to include in its board of directors a number of women which allows to reach balance between women and men (…)”.

[2] One of its features is the legal ban of the executive members and it is compulsory to be moderated by an independent director (article 529 quaterdecies LSC).

[3] Which means, the inclusion of a new duty’s theory (thereby, liability) of the directors. In that sense, the duty of care is made more flexible and the duty of loyalty takes more relevance.

[4] Good Governance Code of Listed Companies (CNMV, February of 2015).