Rules of procedure of the Board of Directors
At its meeting on February 13, 2007, the Board of Directors adopted rules of procedure to replace the existing Directors’ Charter.
The Board’s rules of procedure specify the obligations of each director and set forth the mission and working procedures of the Board of Directors. They also define the respective responsibilities and authority of the Chairman and the Chief Executive Officer. They are reviewed on a regular basis to match the changes in rules and practices related to governance. Thus, in 2014, changes were made to include, in particular, new provisions relating to information of the Board of Directors in the event of new directorships being assumed by the directors or modifications being made to existing directorships, together with a reminder of the obligations of confidentiality inherent to the work of the Board.
The unabridged version of these rules of procedure is available herein in its latest version dated October 28, 2014.
The rules of procedure are also available on the Company’s website.
The Board of Directors of TOTAL S.A.(1) approved the following rules of procedure.
ROLE OF THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS
The Board of Directors is a collegial body that determines the strategic direction of the Company and supervises the implementation of this vision. With the exception of the powers and authority expressly reserved for shareholders and within the limits of the Company’s legal purpose, the Board may address any issue related to the Company’s operation and make any decision concerning the matters falling within its purview. Within this framework, the Board’s duties and responsibilities include, but are not limited to, the following:
- appointing the executive directors (2) and supervising the handling of their responsibilities;
- defining the Company’s strategic orientation and, more generally, that of the Group;
- approving investments or divestments being considered by the Group that exceed 3% of shareholders’ equity;
- reviewing information on significant events related to the Company’s operations, in particular for investments and divestments involving amounts exceeding 1% of shareholders’ equity;
- conducting any audits and investigations it deems appropriate. In particular, the Board, with the assistance of the Audit Committee, ensures that:
- authority has been properly defined and that the various corporate bodies of the Company make proper use of their powers and responsibilities;
- no individual is authorized to commit to pay or to make payments, on behalf of the Company, without proper supervision and control;
- the internal control function operates properly and the statutory auditors are able to perform their mission satisfactorily; and
- the committees it has created duly perform their responsibilities;
- ensuring the quality of the information provided to shareholders and financial markets through the financial statements that it approves and as well as the annual reports, or when major transactions are conducted;
- convening and setting the agenda for Shareholders’ Meetings or meetings of bond holders; and
- preparing on an annual basis the list of directors it deems to be independent according to generally accepted corporate governance criteria.
OBLIGATIONS OF THE DIRECTORS OF TOTAL S.A.
Before accepting a directorship, all candidates receive a copy of TOTAL S.A.’s bylaws and these rules of procedure. They must ensure that they have broad knowledge of the general and particular obligations related to their duty, especially the laws and regulations governing directorships in French limited liability companies (sociétés anonymes) whose shares are listed in one or several regulated markets. They must also ensure that they are familiar with the guidelines set out in the Code of Corporate Governance to which the Company refers.
Accepting a directorship creates an obligation to comply with applicable regulations relating in particular to the functioning of the Board of Directors, and with the ethical rules of professional conduct for directors as described in the Code of Corporate Governance to which the Company refers. It also creates an obligation to comply with these rules of procedure and to uphold the Group’s values as described in its Code of Conduct.
When directors participate in and vote at meetings of the Board of Directors, they are required to represent all of the Company’s shareholders and to act in the interest of the Company as a whole.
INDEPENDENCE OF JUDGMENT
Directors undertake to maintain, in all circumstances, the independence of their analysis, judgment, decision-making and actions as well as not to be unduly influenced, directly or indirectly, by other directors, particular groups of shareholders, creditors, suppliers or, more generally, any third party.
OTHER DIRECTORSHIPS OR FUNCTIONS
Directors must keep the Board of Directors informed of any position they hold on the management team, board of directors or supervisory board of any other company, whether French or foreign, listed or unlisted. This includes any positions as a non-voting member of a board. To this end, directors expressly undertake to promptly notify the Board of Directors of any changes to the positions held, for any reason, whether appointment, resignation, termination or non-renewal.
PARTICIPATION IN THE BOARD’S WORK
Directors undertake to devote the amount of time required to duly consider the information they are given and otherwise prepare for meetings of the Board of Directors and of the committees of the Board of Directors on which they sit. They may request from the executive directors any additional information they deem necessary or useful to their duties. If they consider it necessary, they may request training on the Company’s specificities, businesses and industry sector, and any other training that may be of use to the effective exercise of their duties as directors.
Unless unable, in which case the Chairman of the Board shall be provided advance notice, directors are to attend all meetings of the Board of Directors, meetings of committees of the Board of Directors on which they serve and Shareholders’ Meetings.
The Chairman of the Board ensures that directors receive all relevant information concerning the Company, including that of a negative nature, particularly analyst reports, press releases and the most important media articles.
Directors and any other person who attends all or part of any meeting of the Board of Directors or its committees are under the strict obligation not to disclose any details of the proceedings.
All documents reviewed at meetings of the Board of Directors, as well as information conveyed prior to or during the meetings, are strictly confidential.
With respect to all non-public information acquired during the exercise of their functions, directors are bound by professional secrecy not to divulge such information to employees of the Group or to outside parties. This obligation goes beyond the mere duty of discretion provided for by law.
Directors must not use confidential information obtained prior to or during meetings for their own personal benefit or for the benefit of anyone else, for whatever reason. They must take all necessary steps to ensure that the information remains confidential. Confidentiality and privacy are lifted when such information is made publicly available by the Company.
DUTY OF LOYALTY
Directors must not take advantage of their office or duties to gain, for themselves or a third party, any monetary or non-monetary benefit.
They must notify the Board of Directors of any existing or potential conflict of interest with the Company or any Group company, and they must refrain from participating in the vote relating to the corresponding resolution as well as in any discussion preceding such vote.
Directors must inform the Board of Directors of their participation in any transaction that directly involves the Company, or any Group company, before such transaction is finalized.
Directors must not assume personal responsibilities in companies or businesses having activities in competition with those of the Company or any Group company without first having informed the Board of Directors.
Directors undertake not to seek or accept from the Company, or from companies directly or indirectly connected to the Company, any advantages liable to be considered as being of a nature that may compromise their independence.
DUTY OF EXPRESSION
Directors undertake to clearly express their opposition if they deem a decision being considered by the Board of Directors is contrary to the Company’s corporate interest and they must endeavor to convince the Board of Directors of the pertinence of their position.
TRANSACTIONS IN THE COMPANY’S SECURITIES AND STOCK EXCHANGE RULES
While in office, directors are required to hold the minimum number of registered shares of the Company as set by the bylaws.
Generally speaking, directors must act with the highest degree of prudence and vigilance when completing any personal transaction involving the financial instruments of the Company, its subsidiaries or affiliates that are listed or that issue listed financial instruments.
To that end, directors must comply with the following requirements:
- Any shares or ADRs of TOTAL S.A. or its listed subsidiaries are to be held in registered form, either with the Company or its agent, or as administered registered shares with a French broker (or North American broker for ADRs), whose contact details are communicated by the director to the Secretary of the Board of Directors.
- Directors shall refrain from directly or indirectly engaging in (or recommending engagement in) transactions involving the financial instruments (shares, ADRs or any other securities related to such financial instruments) of the Company or its listed subsidiaries, or any listed financial instruments for which the director has insider information. Insider information is specific information that has not yet been made public and that directly or indirectly concerns one or more issuers of financial instruments or one or more financial instruments and which, if it were made public, could have a significant impact on the price of the financial instruments concerned or on the price of financial instruments related to them.
- Any transaction in the Company’s financial instruments (shares, ADRs or related financial instruments) is strictly prohibited during the thirty calendar days preceding the publication by the Company of its periodic results (quarterly, half-year or annual) as well as on the day of any such announcement.
- Moreover, directors shall comply, where applicable, with the provisions of Article L. 225-197-1 of the French Commercial Code, which stipulates that free shares may not be sold:
- during the ten trading days preceding and the three trading days following the date on which the Consolidated Financial Statements or, failing that, the annual financial statements, are made public; and
- during the period from the date on which the Company’s corporate bodies become aware of information that, if it were made public, could have a significant impact on the Company’s share price, until ten trading days after such information is made public.
- Directors are prohibited from carrying out transactions on any financial instruments related to the Company’s share (Paris option market (MONEP), warrants exchangeable bonds, etc.) and from buying on margin or short selling such financial instruments.
- Directors are also prohibited from hedging the shares of the Company and any financial instruments related to them, and in particular:
- Company shares that they hold; and, where applicable,
- Company share subscription or purchase options;
- rights to Company shares that may be awarded free of charge; and
- Company shares obtained from the exercise of options or granted free of charge.
- Directors must make all necessary arrangements to declare, pursuant to the form and timeframe provided by applicable law, to the French securities regulator (Autorité des marchés financiers), as well as to the Secretary of the Board of Directors, any transaction involving the Company’s securities conducted by themselves or by any other person to whom they are closely related.
FUNCTIONING OF THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS
The Board of Directors meets at least four times a year and whenever circumstances require.
Prior to each Board meeting, the directors receive the agenda and, whenever possible, all other materials necessary to consider for the session.
Directors may be represented by another director at a meeting of the Board, provided that no director holds more than one proxy at any single meeting.
Whenever authorized by law, directors are considered present for quorum and majority purposes who attend Board meetings through video conferencing or other audiovisual means that are compliant with the technical requirements set by applicable regulations.
The Board of Directors allocates annual directors’ fees within the total amount authorized by the Annual Shareholders’ Meeting. Compensation includes a fixed portion and a variable portion that takes into account each directors’ actual participation in the work of the Board of Directors and its committees.
The Chief Executive Officer or, if the functions are combined, the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer does not receive any director’s fees for his participation in the work of the Board and its committees.
SECRETARY OF THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS
The Board of Directors, based on the recommendation of its Chairman, appoints a Secretary who assists the Chairman in organizing the Board’s activities, and particularly in preparing the annual work program and the schedule of Board meetings.
The Secretary drafts the minutes of Board meetings, which are then submitted to the Board for approval. The Secretary is authorized to dispatch Board meeting minutes and to certify copies and excerpts of the minutes.
The Secretary is responsible for all procedures pertaining to the functioning of the Board of Directors. These procedures are reviewed periodically by the Board.
All Board members may ask the Secretary for information or assistance.
EVALUATION OF THE FUNCTIONNING OF THE BOARD
The Board evaluates its functioning at regular intervals not exceeding three years. The evaluation is carried out with the assistance of an outside consultant and, where appropriate, under the supervision of an independent director. The Board of Directors also conducts an annual review of its practices.
ROLE AND AUTHORITY OF THE CHAIRMAN
The Chairman represents the Board of Directors and, except under exceptional circumstances, has sole authority to act and speak on behalf of the Board of Directors.
The Chairman organizes and oversees the work of the Board of Directors and ensures that the Company’s corporate bodies operate effectively and in compliance with good governance principles. The Chairman coordinates the work of the Board of Directors and its committees. The Chairman establishes the agenda for each Board meeting, including items suggested by the Chief Executive Officer.
The Chairman ensures that directors receive, in a timely manner and in a clear and appropriate format, the information they need to effectively carry out their duties.
In liaison with the Group’s general management, the Chairman is responsible for maintaining relations between the Board of Directors and the Company’s shareholders. The Chairman monitors the quality of information disclosed by the Company.
In close cooperation with the Group’s general management, the Chairman may represent the Company in high-level discussions with government authorities and major partners, both at a national and international level.
The Chairman is regularly informed by the Chief Executive Officer of significant events and situations relating to the Group, particularly with regard to strategy, organization, monthly financial reporting, major investment and divestment projects and key financial transactions.
The Chairman may ask the Chief Executive Officer or other senior executives of the Company, provided that the Chief Executive Officer is informed, to supply any information that may help the Board or its committees to carry out their duties.
The Chairman may meet with the statutory auditors in order to prepare the work of the Board of Directors and the Audit Committee.
Every year, the Chairman presents a report to the Annual Shareholders’ Meeting describing the preparation and organization of the Board of Directors’ work, any limits set by the Board of Directors concerning the powers of the Chief Executive Officer, and the internal control procedures implemented by the Company. To this end, the Chairman obtains the necessary information from the Chief Executive Officer.
AUTHORITY OF THE CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER
The Chief Executive Officer is responsible for the Company’s overall management and chairs the Group’s Executive Committee and Management Committee. The Chief Executive Officer is vested with the broadest powers to act on behalf of the Company in all circumstances, subject to the powers that are, by law, restricted to the Board of Directors and to the Annual Shareholders’ Meeting, as well as to the Company’s corporate governance rules and in particular these rules of procedure of the Board of Directors.
The Chief Executive Officer is responsible for presenting the Group’s results and prospects to shareholders and the financial community on a regular basis.
At each meeting of the Board of Directors, the Chief Executive Officer presents an overview of significant Group events.
The Board of Directors approved the creation of:
- an Audit Committee;
- a Governance and Ethics Committee;
- a Compensation Committee; and
- a Strategic Committee.
The roles and composition of each committee are set forth in their respective rules of procedure, which have been approved by the Board of Directors.
The committees perform their duties under the authority and for the benefit of the Board of Directors. Each committee reports on its activities to the Board of Directors.