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Final Tabaksblatt governance report due

NETHERLANDS – The final report of the Tabaksblatt committee of corporate governance will be presented to the Dutch government tomorrow.

According to the Dutch government news service, Morris Tabaksblatt, chair of the Corporate Governance Committee, will present the report to finance minister Gerrit Zalm in The Hague.

The committee published its initial proposals in July in a bid to strengthen the role of shareholders and company supervisory boards. The proposals followed a series of scandals at Dutch companies.

“A new code for corporate governance must help to restore trust and confidence in the honesty, integrity and transparency of the conduct of business within listed companies,” Tabaksblatt, a former executive at consumer products firm Unilever, said at the time.

The draft code “aims to strengthen the checks and balances in Dutch listed company, whilst clearly defining both the powers and responsibilities of the various bodies within the company”.

One proposal is that companies which fail to adhere to the code must state their reasons for non-compliance in their annual report. And the pay of managers “must be made more transparent” it says.

Under the draft code, it will be easier for shareholders to dismiss underperforming management and supervisory board members.

And major decisions, such as acquisitions of disposals, will be subject to shareholder approval. Institutional investors will have to publish their policy on voting rights on an annual basis. On request, they will have to disclose how they voted.

The new code will be effective from January 1.

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