The Board of Sanoma is responsible for the management of the company and its business operations. Chairman, Vice chairman and members of the Board are elected by the General Meeting.

Election and term

In accordance with the Articles of Association of Sanoma, the Board shall be composed of five to eleven members elected by the  General Meeting. The General Meeting also elects the Chairman and the Vice Chairman of the Board.

The term of a member of the Board begins at the end of the AGM in which he or she has been elected and expires at the end of the AGM following the election.

Sanoma has not established a Nomination Committee, but the largest shareholders of Sanoma may propose new members to the Board based on applicable rules and regulations, including the Finnish Corporate Governance Code.

Composition, diversity and independence

The members of the Board shall have the qualifications and experience necessary to perform their duties as well as the possibility to devote sufficient time for the Board work. They shall also meet the independence and other requirements applicable to publicly listed companies in Finland. Both genders shall be represented in the Board.

In order to ensure that the Board has sufficient and versatile competencies, mutually complementing experience and knowledge of the industry, the Board considers a range of diversity aspects, such as business experience, international experience, age, education and gender, when preparing its proposal of the composition of the Board to the AGM.

Matters related to the diversity of the Board are defined in the Group’s Diversity Policy, approved by the Board.

At the end of 2019, 33% of the Board members were women. During 2012–2018, the share of women in the Board has varied between 30–50%. Sanoma has Board members with versatile business experience, both from Finland and the Netherlands.

According to the Board’s annual evaluation all members of the Board are non-executive and independent of the Company. Seven out of nine members are also independent of major shareholders. Reason of the two members, Antti Herlin and Nils Ittonen, not being independent of major shareholders is reported in the introductions of the Board members.

Members of the Board

The following members were elected to the Board of Directors at the AGM 2020: Pekka Ala-Pietilä, Antti Herlin, Julian Drinkall, Rolf Grisebach, Mika  Ihamuotila, Nils Ittonen, Denise Koopmans, Sebastian Langenskiöld, Rafaela Seppälä and Kai Öistämö.

Introductions of the Board members are available here.

In 2019, the following members acted as members of the Board of Directors: Pekka Ala-Pietilä, Antti Herlin, Anne Brunila, Mika  Ihamuotila, Nils Ittonen, Denise Koopmans, Sebastian Langenskiöld, Rafaela Seppälä and Kai Öistämö. Robin Langenskiöld acted as a member of the Board until the AGM 2019.

Sanoma shares owned by the members of the Board
Board member Shareholding 1 at 31 December 2019
Pekka Ala-Pietilä (Chairman) 10,000
Antti Herlin (Vice Chairman) 19,506,800
Anne Brunila 910
Mika Ihamuotila 150,000
Nils Ittonen 59,000
Denise Koopmans 0
Sebastian Langenskiöld 2 645,963
Rafaela Seppälä 10,273,370
Kai Öistämö 8,265
Robin Langenskiöld 3 12,273,371

1 Shares owned by the Board members and the corporations over which the member exercises control.
2 Member of the Board since 27 March 2019
3 Member of the Board until 27 March 2019

The AGM determines the remuneration of the members of the Board and the Board committees. More information on the remuneration of the Board members in 2019 is available in the Remuneration Statement 2019. Up-to-date information on Baord remuneration is available here.

Duties of the Board

The duties of the Board are set forth in the Finnish Companies Act and other applicable legislation. The Board is responsible for the management of the Company and its business operations. In addition, the Board is responsible for the appropriate arrangement of the control of the Company’s bookkeeping and financial administration.

The operating principles and main duties of the Board have been defined in the Charter of the Board of Directors. The Board, for example,

  • decides on the long-term goals and business strategy of the Group for achieving the long-term goals;
  • approves the Group’s reporting structure;
  • decides on acquisitions and divestments, financial matters and investments, which have a value exceeding EUR 5.0 million, or are otherwise strategically significant, or involve significant risks, or relate to divestment, lay-off or termination of employment of 100 employees or more (for the time being, the Board has delegated its decision-making authority to the President and CEO on acquisitions and divestments, financial matters and investments which have a value exceeding EUR 0.5 million but below EUR 5.0 million);
  • ensures the adequacy of planning, internal control and risk management systems and reporting procedures;
  • performs reviews and follow-ups of the operations and performance of the Group companies;
  • approves the Interim Reports, the Half-Year Report, the Financial Statements and the Board of Directors’ Report as well as the Corporate Governance Statement and the Remuneration Statement of the Company;
  • appoints and dismisses as well as decides on the remuneration of
    • the President and CEO,
    • his or her deputy,
    • the CEOs of the SBUs,
    • members of the EMT and
    • certain executive positions as determined by the Board;
  • confirms the Group’s values;
  • and approves the Group’s key policies.

In order to develop its performance, the Board conducts an evaluation of its operations and working methods on an annual basis. The purpose of the evaluation is also to assess the composition of the Board and define qualifications for the possible new Board members. The evaluation may be done as an internal self-assessment or by using an external evaluator.

Board meetings

During 2019, the Board convened 17 times with an average attendance rate of 91%.

Members' attendance at Board meetings in 2019
Board member # of meetings attended Attendance rate, %
Pekka Ala-Pietilä (Chairman) 15/17 88
Antti Herlin (Vice Chairman) 13/17 77
Anne Brunila 15/17 88
Mika Ihamuotila 15/15 88
Nils Ittonen 17/17 100
Denise Koopmans 16/17 94
Sebastian Langenskiöld 1 13/14 93
Rafaela Seppälä 17/17 100
Kai Öistämö 14/17 82
Robin Langenskiöld 2 3/3 100

1 Member of the Board since 27 March 2019
2 Member of the Board until 27 March 2019