Last year, Proximus silently removed the minimum age of 70 for its drivers. This means that Stéphane de Klerk (70) can stay for a longer period as chairman of the board of directors of the telecommunications company.
It was announced Thursday by newspaper De Tijd that De Clerck has a possibility to extend his term as president. The government is allowed to appoint half of the directors, and de Klerk is one of them. CD&V nominated him again. The former Mayor of Kortrijk has served as Chairman of the Board of Directors since September 2013.
The fact that De Clerck can still survive comes back due to an internal modification in Proximus. Until recently, the charter of the company’s board of directors contained a stipulation about a minimum age: once directors reached the age of 70, they relinquish their mandate at the next general meeting.
This clip was deleted at the end of last year. This was replaced by a limitation on the term: from now on, drivers can stay with Proximus for a maximum of 12 years. In the past there was no such restriction for government-appointed officials. Thus De Clerck can stay for another three years if the shareholders agree.
There is no age limit
One has nothing to do with the other, says Dirk Lippert, chief corporate affairs officer. “Last year, we thought about the 70-year mark for various reasons. We’ve seen that bpost no longer has an age limit, and that an age limit doesn’t exist almost anywhere in other public companies anymore. There is also a legal doctrine that states that a minimum age should be considered discriminatory.”
Proximus later summoned the Guberna Institute of Directors to question whether the age restriction was appropriate in the context of good governance. “They said if the age cap is removed, it is important to set a cap,” Lippert says. “This is something we already had for independent directors, and now we’ve introduced a 12-year term for government directors as well.”
In Proximus’ annual results presentation, CEO Guillaume Boutin expressed satisfaction with the proposed extension of De Clerck’s mandate. Stefan does an excellent job with the Board of Directors and the Executive Committee. It’s a team, a winning team. I am happy that the team can continue to work.”
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