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A global company
with a local approach

management & board of directors

William Demant employs a two-tier management structure, consisting of the Board of Directors and Executive Management. The Board of Directors supervises the performance of the company, its management and organisation on behalf of the shareholders. It also contributes to determining the company strategy. The Executive Board, in turn, is responsible for the company's daily operations.

executive management

The Executive Board consists of three members: Niels Jacobsen, President & CEO, Søren Nielsen, Chief Operating Officer, who is also President of Oticon A/S, and René Schneider, Chief Financial Officer.

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  • Exec 1-a

    Niels Jacobsen

    Niels Jacobsen, President & CEO
    (born 1957)

     
    Joined the company in 1992 as Executive Vice President and was appointed President & CEO in 1998.

    Niels Jacobsen holds a Master of Science degree in Economics from Aarhus University.

    Niels Jacobsen has broad management experience both as CEO and as chairman in major international companies, including listed companies. His competencies include business management at corporate level as well as extensive knowledge of areas such as finance, accounting, risk management, mergers and acquisitions and restructuring of companies. He is well versed in industrial policy in Denmark and has profound knowledge of the global healthcare and medtech industries.

    • LEGO A/S, chairman 
    • A.P. Møller - Mærsk A/S, deputy chairman
    • KIRKBI A/S, deputy chairman 
    • Thomas B. Thriges Fond (Thomas B. Thrige Foundation), chairman 
    As a consequence of his position as President & CEO of William Demant Holding, Niels Jacobsen holds the following Group-related management positions:

    • William Demant Invest A/S, Managing Director
    • Boston Holding A/S, board member
    • Jeudan A/S, deputy chairman
    • Össur hf., chairman
    • Sennheiser Communications A/S, board member
    • HIMPP A/S, chairman
    • HIMSA A/S, chairman
    • HIMSA II A/S, board member
  • Exec 2-a

    Søren Nielsen

    Søren Nielsen, COO (Deputy CEO) and President of Oticon A/S
    (born 1970)

     
    Joined Oticon in 1995. In 2008, he was appointed President of Oticon A/S and in 2015, he was appointed Chief Operating Officer and member of the Executive Board of William Demant Holding A/S.

    Søren Nielsen holds a Master of Science degree in Engineering (Industrial Management and Product Development) from the Technical University of Denmark (DTU).

    As President of Oticon, Søren Nielsen has the overall responsibility for the Oticon business and in his capacity as COO and member of the Executive Board of William Demant Holding, he carries the overall responsibility for the Group's global hearing instrument wholesale business as well as the overall responsibility for coordination across the Group's various businesses. 


    Throughout his many years with the Group, he has been involved in a broad scope of disciplines, including R&D, IT, Operations, HR, Sales & Marketing and Distribution, and he has profound knowledge of hearing aids and the hearing healthcare industry.

    • Sennheiser Communications A/S, board member
  • Exec 3-a

    René Schneider

    René Schneider, CFO
    (born 1973)

     
    Joined William Demant Holding A/S in 2015 as Chief Financial Officer (CFO) and member of the Executive Board.

    René Schneider holds a Master of Science degree in Economics from Aarhus University.

    He has broad business and financial experience from various management positions with Novo Nordisk, Auriga Industries, NeuroSearch and NNIT.


    René Schneider's competencies include general business management, financial management and reporting, restructuring of companies and management of listed companies. His areas of responsibility in William Demant Holding include Finance, Operations, IT, Investor Relations and Legal Affairs. 



board of directors

The Board of Directors of William Demant has eight members: five elected by the shareholders at the general meeting and three members elected by employees in the Danish William Demant companies. 

The Board members elected by the shareholders are elected for one year at a time and staff-elected Board members for four years at a time. The next staff election will take place in January 2019 and will take effect after the annual general meeting in April 2019.

The Board of Directors is responsible for the overall strategic management as well as the financial and managerial supervision of the company, and it currently evaluates the work of the Executive Board. The Board of Directors' duties and responsibilities are set out in its rules of procedure. These are revised once a year.

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  • BoD 1-a

    Lars Nørby Johansen

    Lars Nørby Johansen, Chairman
    (born 1949)

     
    Joined the Board of Directors in 1998 and was most recently re-elected in 2016 for a term of one year. He is chairman of the nomination committee and a member of the audit committee. Because of his seat on the Board for more than 12 years, he is not considered independent.

    • Codan A/S and one subsidiary, chairman
    • The Danish Growth Council, chairman
    • Dansk Vækstkapital, chairman
    • Copenhagen Airports A/S, chairman
    • Montana Møbler A/S, chairman
    • University of Southern Denmark, chairman
    • The Rockwool Foundation, chairman
    • Arp-Hansen Hotel Group A/S, deputy chairman
    • Fonden for Entreprenørskab - Young Enterprise, chairman

    Lars Nørby Johansen holds a Master of Social Sciences degree. His qualifications include extensive international experience as a corporate executive, including vast board experience from listed companies. He has profound knowledge of the challenges resulting from globalisation and is also well versed in industrial policy.

  • BoD 2-a

    Peter Foss 

    Peter Foss, Deputy Chairman
    (born 1956)

     
    Joined the Board of Directors in 2007 and was most recently re-elected in 2016 for a term of one year. He is a member of the nomination committee and the audit committee. Because of his seat on the boards of the Oticon Foundation and William Demant Invest A/S, he is not considered independent.

    • FOSS A/S and two affiliated companies, chairman
    • The Oticon Foundation, deputy chairman
    • William Demant Invest A/S, deputy chairman
    • A.R. Holding af 1999 A/S, board member
    • TrackMan A/S, board member

    Peter Foss holds a Master of Science degree in Engineering from the Technical University of Denmark (DTU) and also holds a Graduate Diploma in Business Administration (Finance). He has extensive managerial experience from global, market-leading, industrial companies with comprehensive product development. In addition, he has board experience from different lines of business.

  • BoD 3-a

    Niels B. Christiansen

    Niels B. Christiansen
    (born 1966)

     
    Joined the Board of Directors in 2008 and was most recently re-elected in 2016 for a term of one year. He is chairman of the audit committee and is considered independent.

    • Danfoss A/S, President & CEO and board memberships in six subsidiaries
    • Axcel, chairman
    • A.P. Møller - Mærsk A/S, board member
    • Technical University of Denmark (DTU), board member

    Niels B. Christiansen holds a Master of Science degree in Engineering from the Technical University of Denmark (DTU) and also holds an MBA from INSEAD in France. His international experience from the management of major, global, industrial hi-tech corporations is comprehensive. He also has extensive board experience from listed companies as well as strong insight into industrial policy.

  • BoD 4-a

    Thomas Duer

    Thomas Duer
    (born 1973)

     
    Staff-elected Board member. Elected to the Board of Directors in 2015 for a term of four years. 

    • Danske Sprogseminarer A/S, board member since 2009
    • Oticon A/S, staff-elected board member since 2011

    Thomas Duer holds a Master of Science degree in Electrical Engineering from the Technical University of Denmark (DTU). He is Head of Integration & Verification in Oticon's R&D department and has been with Oticon since 2002.

  • BoD 5-a

    Benedikte Leroy

    Benedikte Leroy
    (born 1970)

     
    Joined the Board of Directors in 2014 and was most recently re-elected in 2016 for a term of one year. She is a member of the audit committee and is considered independent.

    • Dell Technologies, SVP & EMEA General Counsel
    • Dell GmbH, Germany, chairman of the supervisory board

    Benedikte Leroy holds a Master of Law degree from the University of Copenhagen. She has significant international management experience from large, global technology companies within both consumer and business-to-business segments, and she has lived and worked in the UK and Belgium for many years.

  • BoD 6-a

    Ole Lundsgaard

    Ole Lundsgaard
    (born 1969)

     
    Staff-elected Board member. Joined the Board of Directors in 2003 and was most recently re-elected in 2015 for a term of four years.

    • Interacoustics A/S, staff-elected board member since 2003

    Ole Lundsgaard trained as an electronics mechanic at the University of Odense, Institute of Biology. He is Senior Product Manager in Diagnostic Instruments where he is responsible for hearing aid fitting systems, and he has been with Interacoustics since 1993.

  • BoD 8-b

    Jørgen Møller Nielsen

    Jørgen Møller Nielsen
    (born 1962)

     
    Staff-elected Board member. Joined the Board of Directors in 2017 after having been elected substitute Board member in 2015 for a term of four years.

    Jørgen Møller Nielsen holds a Master of Science degree in Electrical Engineering from the Technical University of Denmark (DTU) and holds a Diploma in Business Administration (Organisation and Strategy). He is project manager at the Group's facility in Ballerup, Denmark, and he has been with the Company since 2001.

  • BoD 7-a

    Lars Rasmussen

    Lars Rasmussen
    (born 1959)

     
    Elected to the Board of Directors in 2016 for a term of one year. He is a member of the audit committee and is considered independent.

    • Coloplast A/S, President & CEO
    • H. Lundbeck A/S, chairman

    Lars Rasmussen holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Engineering from Aalborg University and an Executive MBA from SIMI. He has considerable executive management experience from global MedTech functions. Lars Rasmussen's qualifications include management and board experience from listed companies, innovation, globalisation, business-to-business and business-to-consumer sales models, and he has extensive experience with globalisation and efficiency improvements.






Board committees

The Board of Directors has decided to set up an audit committee and a nomination committee. For further information on the committees


Read more


Evaluation of the Board

Once a year, the Chairman of the Board evaluates the Board’s work. Every other year, such evaluation is performed through personal, individual interviews with the Board members by the Chairman of the Board, and every other year, the evaluation is carried out by means of questionnaires to be filled out by the Board members. In both instances, the results of the evaluation are discussed at the subsequent Board meeting.

In connection with the evaluation in December 2016, the Board members expressed great satisfaction with the manner in which the Board works emphasising the constructive working climate in the Board.

Competences

The Board of Directors continuously strives to ensure that between them the Board members have the relevant knowledge and professional experience required to fulfil the company's needs. These competencies must cover the following areas:


• International management experience at corporate level

• Board experience from listed companies with international operations

• Industrial management experience 

• Insight into globalisation challenges

• Profound knowledge of economics and finance

• Insight into and knowledge of the political aspects of business

• Board experience from multiple lines of business

• Academic level of education

Though Board members are up for election every year, they traditionally sit on the Board for an extended number of years. This ensures consistency and maximum insight into the conditions prevailing within the company and within the industry. This is considered to be extremely important in terms of the value that the Board of Directors brings to the company. In fact, it is considered just as important as the professional skills listed above.

Age limit for Board members

In compliance with the company’s articles of association, Board members must resign from the Board no later than at the first general meeting following their 70th birthday.

Board of Directors’s fees

In 2016, the basic fee for a Board member was increased to DKK 350,000. The fee has not been changed since 2010. The Chairman’s fee is determined to be three times the basic fee and the Deputy Chairman’s fee is determined to be twice the basic fee.

There is no separate fee for nomination committee members. Audit committee members receive a fee of DKK 50,000.

The Board adopted the Remuneration Policy at the Annual General Meeting held on 7 April 2016.

Board meetings in 2016

In 2016, the Board of Directors convened on four occasions.