Board of Directors practices
On May 21, 2010, the Board of Directors decided to reunify the positions of Chairman and Chief Executive Officer and appoint the Chief Executive Officer as Chairman of the Board. This decision had been made further to the work done by the Governance and Ethics Committee (then the Nominating & Governance Committee) and in the best interests of the Company, taking into account the advantage of the unified management and the majority of independent directors appointed at the Committees, which ensured balanced authority. The Board of Directors had deemed that the unified management form was the most appropriate to the Group’s organization, modus operandi and business, and the specificities of the oil and gas sector. It respected the respective prerogatives of the various Company corporate bodies (Shareholders’ Meeting, Board of Directors and General Management). The reunification was confirmed during the Board of Directors’ meeting held on May 11, 2012, at which Mr. de Margerie was reappointed as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer.
Following the death of the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, and acting on a proposal from the Governance and Ethics Committee, the Board of Directors decided to separate the positions of Chairman and Chief Executive Officer in order to ensure continuity as best as possible in the General Management’s transition process.
During its meeting on October 22, 2014, the Board of Directors therefore appointed Mr. Pouyanné, as Chief Executive Officer for a term expiring at the end of the Shareholders’ Meeting called in 2017 to approve the financial statements for the fiscal year 2016. The Board has furthermore appointed Mr. Desmarest Chairman of the Board of Directors for a period due to expire on December 18, 2015, in light of the age limits set out in the bylaws. As of such date, the functions of Chairman and Chief Executive Office of TOTAL will be combined.
Performance and evaluation
At its meeting on February 11, 2015, the Board of Directors discussed its practices on the basis of a formal evaluation carried out by means of a detailed questionnaire to which all the Directors responded. The responses given by the Directors were then presented to the Governance and Ethics Committee to be reviewed and summarized. This summary was then discussed by the Board of Directors. This process made it possible to confirm the quality of each director’s contribution to the work of the Board and its Committees.
The formal evaluation showed a generally positive opinion of the practices of the Board of Directors and the Committees, which was highlighted in particular during the decision-making process that had ensured the continuity of the Group’s governance following the death of the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer.
Furthermore, it was noted that the improvements requested by the directors over the last few years had been made on the whole. During the Board of Directors’ meetings, some of which were held at certain of the Group’s sites, special attention was paid at the start of each meeting to the review of the main points to be examined by the Board (financial statements, large-scale investment and divestment projects, etc.). It was also noted that more time was allocated to the main strategic topics and important issues during the Board and Committee meetings.
To further improve its performance, the Board took into account the main suggestions made by the directors in the 2015 self-assessment, which notably concerned the strenghtening of improvements made to the time allotted to the most important issues and substantive debates.