Solvay Board of Directors
6 independent directors
Solvay’s board of directors promotes good governance practices that create transparent dialogue among the group’s stakeholders. It makes overall strategy and policy decisions and supervises their implementation. Its members collaborate as a team with a shared vision and purpose and are fully aligned behind the company’s strategy.
Members of the Board
Pierre Gurdjian, 62, serves as independent Director and Chair of the Board and Chair of the Finance Committee. He was appointed as a Director of Solvay in 2022. He also serves on the Board of Directors of UCB and Lhoist. In addition, he chairs the Board of Directors of the Free University of Brussels (ULB) and is active in multiple societal projects. He brings extensive experience in executive leadership, strategy, governance and societal impact. Prior, he served for almost three decades at McKinsey & Company, among which 13 years as senior partner. He was the Managing Partner of the Belgium-Luxembourg office and held international responsibility for McKinsey’s Human Capital practice in EMEA.
Philippe Kehren, 52, is Chief Executive Officer and member of the Board. He previously was President and Head of Sustainability of the Soda Ash & Derivatives global business unit at Solvay. Mr Kehren is an industrial authority with a 30-year cross-functional experience in multiple management roles. He transformed Solvay’s soda ash business, reinforcing its global leadership while accelerating the Company’s energy transition. He joined Solvay in 2012 to lead business development in Energy Services, and oversaw the successful turnaround of the European Soda Ash business. Prior to joining Solvay, Mr. Kehren served in various management roles at Rhodia.
Thomas Aebischer, 62, is an independent Director and Chair of the Audit Committee. He was Vice-Chair of the Board at Dormakaba, a leading provider of smart & secure access solutions. He also chaired the Audit Committee at Quotient Limited. Mr. Aebischer brings a global perspective and experience in financial management, strategy and business development, cross-border merger & acquisitions, investor relations, procurement and information technology. Most recently, he serves as interim CFO of Master Builders Solutions, a leading provider of construction chemicals. From 2016 to 2019, he held the position of EVP and CFO for LyondellBasell and from 2021 to 2022 he worked as the CFO of RWDC Industries, a biotechnology company developing biopolymer material solutions. Prior to that, Mr. Aebischer spent nearly 20 years with Holcim, serving in roles of increasing responsibility until being named CFO. Mr. Aebischer spent time early in his career at PwC, where he worked as a Certified Public Accountant in Zurich, Eastern Europe and Hong Kong.
Marjan Oudeman, 65, is an independent Director and Chair of the Nomination Committee. She was appointed in 2015 on the Board of Solvay. She also serves on the board of KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, UPM-Kymmene Corporation and SHV Holdings NV, a privately-owned trading group. Marjan Oudeman is a strong industrial leader with a focus on strategy and business development, M&A and process engineering. She has a long experience as an executive and non-executive of stock listed and non listed companies. Marjan Oudeman held a long career in Hoogovens Group, then Corus Group, then Tata Steel Europe as member of the Executive Committee and Director Division Strip Products. She has also been a member of the Executive Committee of AkzoNobel and Executive President of Utrecht University. She served previously as a Non Executive on the Board of Equinor ASA, ABN AMRO NV, Aalberts NV, NLMK, NS NV, Concertgebouw and Rijksmuseum as well as Chair of the Ronald McDonalds Children Fund in the Netherlands.
Wolfgang Colberg, 63, is an independent Director and Chair of the Compensation Committee. He has been a Director on the Solvay Board since 2021. He also sits on the Boards of Thyssenkrupp AG, Pernod Ricard S.A. and Burelle S.A., a family-controlled company. In addition, he serves as an Industrial Partner at Deutsche Invest Capital Partners, an asset management firm. Mr. Colberg is a proven leader with extensive leadership and financial experience within the specialty chemicals industry. From 2009 to 2013, he served as CFO of Evonik Industries, where he was responsible for the company’s IPO in 2013. Throughout his career, he also held various senior management positions at the Bosch Group and Siemens Hausgeräte GmbH until he became Chief Financial Officer for the Bosch Group and Siemens Hausgeräte.
Aude Thibaut de Maisières, 48, is a non-independent Director and Chair of the ESG Committee and Vice-Chair of the Solvay Board. She was appointed member of the Solvay Board in 2020. She is also CEO of Sonic Womb, a multidisciplinary medical research venture which she co-founded in 2016. In addition, Ms. Thibaut de Maisières is a member of the Innovation Fund Investment Committee which makes early-stages investments in innovative start-ups active in the field of chemistry and bioscience. She brings extensive experience in the chemical and life sciences industries and expertise in entrepreneurship, finance, research and development, process and materials technology as well as the circular economy.
Melchior de Vogüé, 61, is a non-independent Director. Mr. de Vogüé currently sits on the Board of Solvac, where he was appointed in 2022, and is presently Group CFO of the Etex Group, a global building material company. He brings decades of experience in finance, M&A and risk management and has broad experience in the specialty papers and chemicals industry. He previously served as CFO of various Suez Environmental Group water management subsidiaries across the UK, the United States of America and Puerto Rico. He also served as CFO and Co-CEO of Tessenderlo Chemie.
Yves Bonte, 62, is an independent Director. He was Chair of the Board of Directors and Chief Executive Officer of Domo Chemicals, into which he successfully integrated Solvay’s European Performance Polyamide business, in 2020. He brings a 30-year experience of innovative and energetic leadership in the chemical sector worldwide, with a focus on the materials industry. Prior to his tenure at Domo, Mr. Bonte was a Member of the Executive Management Board of Yara International and led the Industrial Segment, which he transformed. He previously held several top management positions at LyondellBasell.
Annette Stube, 56, is an independent Director. She held the position of Executive vice-President and Head of Sustainability at Stora Enso, a provider of renewable products in packaging, biomaterials and wooden construction. She was recently appointed Chief Sustainability Officer of the Lego Group, effective in January 2024. She will contribute her expertise in sustainable business and corporate social responsibility. From 2020 to 2023, she sat on the Board of Directors of Fortum Oyj a Finnish mainly state-owned energy company and Europe's third largest producer of carbon-free electricity. Prior to that, in her 11-year tenure as Head of Sustainability at A.P. Moller-Maersk, she established, developed and rolled out the CSR/Sustainability sustainability strategy of the world's largest container shipping company.
Thierry Bonnefous, 44, serves as non-independent Director. He was Digital Train Program Director at Alstom, a global leader in smart and sustainable mobility. Mr Bonnefous also serves as an administrator of the Fonds Ernest Solvay, which implements the corporate philanthropy activity of the Solvay group. Mr Bonnefous brings experience in leading complex projects with high technological content. Prior to joining Alstom, he held several design and engineering management positions at PSA Peugeot Citroën (now Stellantis).
Solvay Board Committees
Five specialized committees — nomination committee; audit committee (both led by an independent director) finance committee, ESG committee and compensation committee — provide the board with advisory opinions in their individual areas of competence:
The audit committee assists the board in its responsibility of monitoring the management of Solvay and the Solvay Group as a whole.
The committee hears reports from Chief Financial Officer Alexandre Blum, the head of group internal audit and an external auditor, EY. It also examines the quarterly report from the group general counsel on significant ongoing legal disputes and reports on tax and intellectual property disputes.
It meets alone with the auditor in charge of the external audit whenever deemed useful.
The chairman of the executive committee and chief executive officer, Philippe Kehren, and all other board members are invited, once per year, to discuss major risks to which the Group is exposed.
The finance committee’s role is to give an opinion on financial matters such as interim and final dividend amounts, the levels, conditions and currencies of indebtedness, monitoring the credit strength of the group’s balance sheet, hedging foreign exchange and risks, the hedging policy for long-term incentive plans, content for financial communications, and financing major investments.
It also finalizes the preparation of press releases announcing financial results. When called upon, it gives opinions on board policies on the above matters and makes recommendations to the board of directors.
The compensation committee fulfills the duties imposed by Article 526 quarter section 5 of the Companies Code. It advises the board of directors on:
- The company’s compensation policy and principles;
- The compensation levels for members of the board of directors and the executive committee;
- The chairman of the executive committee’s compensation, short- and long-term incentives, and performance assessment;
- The new CEO's compensation package, including short- and long-term incentives;
- The allocation of long-term incentives (performance share units and stock options) to the company’s senior management.
It prepares the annual compensation report for the Corporate Governance Statement and receives a yearly report about the compensation of general management.
The nomination committee gives its opinion on appointments to the board of directors (chairman, new members, renewals, and committees), to executive committee positions (chairmanship and members), and to general management positions.
The ESG committee considers the material ESG issues relevant to the group’s business activities, provides guidance and recommendations to the board, including in the context of the implementation and potential review of the Solvay One Planet sustainability strategy and the group’s non-financial reporting; and ensures the implementation of the new Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD), when applicable.