The Board has a responsibility to a range of stakeholders including the Group’s customers, key subcontractors and suppliers and to the environment and the communities in which the Group operates. Set out below are details of the Board’s engagement with two key stakeholder groups; employees and shareholders.
Although the Group people plan has its foundation in the Build to Last transformation programme, the Board recognises the importance of its own role in ensuring constructive employee engagement to build a sustainable business.
Meet the Board
In 2019, a ‘Meet the Board’ event was held for staff at the Company’s office in Canary Wharf. The event was publicised internally and via the Canary Wharf office social events committee and was open to all employees to attend whether or not they were based in Canary Wharf.
The Group Chair delivered a presentation followed by a Q&A session. The other Board members were also available to answer questions. Further informal discussion continued over tea and coffee.
The intention of this session was for the Board to have the opportunity to engage with a wide range of employees. Members of the Board discussed roles and responsibilities and also heard directly from those in attendance about issues that matter to them.
The event was a great success with over 90 employees attending and a large number of questions being asked.
Further employee engagement
The Board has historically received updates and presentations on people related matters and routinely receives reports on the results of employee engagement surveys.
Notwithstanding this, plans are underway to further develop and formalise the Board’s engagement programme with employees which is detailed in the 2019 Annual Report.
The Board places great importance on having positive relationships with all shareholders and seeks to ensure that there is an appropriate level of dialogue with investors.
The Group’s website is an important resource for the Company to communicate to all stakeholders and in particular provides information useful for shareholders. Further engagement activities are set out below.
As part of the Group’s investor relations programme, the Group Chair and executive Directors met with institutional shareholders throughout 2019. Other Board members, including the Senior Independent Director, also met with shareholders.
Details of meetings held were shared with the rest of the Board during the year. In addition to these 1:1 meetings, group sessions were held with current and prospective shareholders in attendance. Board members also attended and spoke at investor conferences.
An annual detailed review of investor relations activities, including shareholder meetings and conferences, was provided to the Board by the Head of Investor Relations together with a summary of analyst research briefings and an overview of the Company’s share price movement.
Proxy advisory firms
Together with the Head of Investor Relations and the Deputy Company Secretary, the Group Chair met with proxy advisory firms to directly communicate the Company’s strategic priorities and governance practices. Verbal reports of proxy advisory meetings were provided to the full Board.
An event was hosted for the UK Shareholders’ Association at the Canary Wharf office, attended by the Head of Investor Relations and the Deputy Company Secretary. The event was well attended with approximately 30 retail shareholders hearing a presentation from the Group Chair on the Group’s performance followed by a Q&A session. The discussion continued informally over a light lunch.
Annual General Meeting (AGM)
The AGM is an important event in the Board calendar and all shareholders are encouraged to participate whether by attending in person, asking questions or casting their vote in advance of the meeting. All resolutions continue to be put to a poll rather than a show of hands to ensure that the votes of all shareholders are counted even if they are unable to attend the meeting.
Each substantially separate issue is proposed via a separate resolution and proxy forms provided for shareholders to vote for, vote against or withhold their vote on each resolution.
All Board members attend the AGM and are available to answer questions during the formal part of the meeting as well as being present for informal discussion over refreshments after the AGM.
2020 Annual General Meeting and Class Meeting of Preference Shareholders
The annual general meeting (AGM) was planned to be held in London on Thursday 14 May 2020. In light of the increasing uncertainty relating to the COVID-19 pandemic and the UK Government’s restrictions on individuals’ movements, the Company announced on 27 March 2020 that the AGM would be postponed. Further information on the rescheduled AGM will be made available here: Financial calendar
Immediately following the AGM, a Class Meeting of the holders of the Company’s cumulative convertible redeemable preference shares will be held.
Shareholders will be encouraged to exercise their votes by proxy.