We are pursuing a Group-wide, global diversity program. At our company, diversity stands for a culture of inclusion, mutual esteem, and respect. To demonstrate this open and dynamic company culture, we promote diversity throughout the Group – and do so at all levels, including the Executive Board and Supervisory Board.
We believe that a diverse workforce boosts the innovative strength of the Group and contributes materially to our business success. That is why we are furthering a culture of diversity independent of age, gender, disability, ethnic or cultural background, religion, industry experience, and educational background. The diversity policy to strategically steer the topics of diversity and inclusion at our company thus focuses on the following key criteria:
Our Group-wide diversity policy encompasses both voluntary as well as legally defined objectives that we continuously and sustainably work to achieve. In this context, it should be noted that with respect to the Executive Board of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, many rules can only be applied correspondingly. This is because the Executive Board comprises personally liable general partners of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, and is not a management board with employed members of a corporate body (for details, please also see the ”Joint Report of the Executive Board and the Supervisory Board”).
In addition to the aspects presented in the following, reference is made to the objectives of the Supervisory Board with respect to its composition and the profile of skills and expertise of the Supervisory Board (see the information on the ”Objectives of the Supervisory Board with respect to its composition and profile of skills and expertise”). The statements made there are part of the diversity policy for the Supervisory Board presented here.
Our boards are to have a balanced age structure. This permits future-oriented and consistent succession planning and is a key element of sustainable company management and monitoring. Our diversity policy aims for an age range of at least 10 years between the youngest and the oldest member of the respective board.
In their current composition, both boards meet this objective. The age range of the Executive Board is 11 years, while the age range of the Supervisory Board is over 30 years. In addition, maximum age limits apply to both boards. A maximum age of 70 applies to members of the Executive Board, while the standard age limit for Supervisory Board members is 75.
Gender diversity also plays a crucial role since it enables us to benefit from a larger talent pool, and allows us as a company to develop a better understanding of important customer groups. We have set a global strategic objective of maintaining the proportion of women in leadership positions (managers, experts, and project managers in role 4 and higher)1 at a stable level of 30% by 2021 (please also refer to the description under “Diversity and Management”).
Additionally, we continue to pursue representation of both genders as an objective for the Executive Board. The Board of Partners of E. Merck KG, Darmstadt, Germany, has appointed Belén Garijo, currently the Vice Chair of the Executive Board and Vice CEO of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, and former CEO of Healthcare, as the new Chair of the Executive Board and CEO of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, effective May 1, 2021, making it the first time a woman has been appointed to these positions. The statutory target of 30% pursuant to section 96 (2) AktG already applies to the Supervisory Board of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, and is currently met.
1 The Group also has employees at sites that are not fully consolidated subsidiaries. These figures refer to all people directly employed by us and therefore may deviate from figures in the financial section of this report.
Internationality and global mindset
As a science and technology company with global operations and major markets on five continents with around 58,000 employees at locations in 661 countries, internationality and the associated global mindset is one of our key success factors. According to our diversity policy, the Executive Board’s internationality derives from leadership experience or national origin, relative to our key sales markets or those locations that are organizationally and culturally relevant to our employee development efforts. For both criteria, Europe, North America, and Asia-Pacific are currently the key regions. The Executive Board meets this objective with management experience in the named regions, e.g. in the following countries: France, Spain, the United States, Singapore, and Malaysia. In addition, more than one-third of the Executive Board members are not German citizens.
1 Each country with at least one active employee is included as a separate country.
The key prerequisites for high-performance leadership teams are both the diversity of the individual competency profiles and a balance between a Group-internal and external management perspective. Therefore, as a whole the Executive Board must have in-depth knowledge and experience in the following key areas of importance to the company: strategy and planning, finance and accounting, sales and operations, human resources, and legal and compliance, as well as information technology. In addition, for the composition of the Executive Board it is important to ensure a good balance of members from within and outside the company. Our diversity policy seeks to derive inspiration and innovation from outside the company and to identify the latest trends of relevance to the core businesses of the company, while ensuring sustainability and continuity in line with our corporate culture. We have therefore set ourselves the global objective of filling two-thirds of our leadership positions with candidates from within the company.
The current Executive Board fulfills both of the aforementioned objectives: All required aspects of the competency profile are covered by at least one member of the Executive Board. Likewise, three members of the Executive Board possess multiple years of experience working within the Group prior to their appointment to the Executive Board.
To efficiently lead and manage the Group, the Executive Board must have in-depth knowledge of the key industries and business sectors that the company operates in. In accordance with the diversity policy, there should be at least one member of the Executive Board with in-depth expertise of Healthcare, Life Science, or Performance Materials.
The Executive Board will have the full breadth of the sector-specific experience required when Matthias Heinzel joins the Executive Board by April 1, 2021. Christos Ross currently reports to the Chairman of the Executive Board as the interim head of Life Science.
In order to translate the tremendous innovative potential of a science and technology company into sustainable business success, interdisciplinary educational backgrounds are a key element of our diversity policy both for the Executive Board and for the Supervisory Board. The current composition of both boards illustrates this interdisciplinary aspect to a very high degree.
The members of the Executive Board contribute knowledge of various fields including veterinary medicine, economic sciences, medicine (pharmacology, physical education), and information technology. In addition, the majority of members of the Executive Board hold a university degree and a doctorate from a German or foreign university.
Moreover, the members of the Supervisory Board have a background in one or more of the following fields of specialization: chemistry, biochemistry, pharmaceutics, mathematics, law, human medicine, business administration and economics, physics, education, and computer sciences, among others.
Seven Supervisory Board members are university graduates and hold doctorates.