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1. Corporate Governance Structure
Directors and Senior Management
The Articles of Incorporation of the Company provide that the number of Directors of the Company shall be three or more and that of Corporate Auditors shall be three or more. Directors and Corporate Auditors shall be elected at the general meeting of shareholders.
The Board of Directors has ultimate responsibility for administration of the Company’s affairs and monitoring of the execution of business by Directors. Directors may, by resolution of the Board of Directors, appoint a Chairman of the Board of Directors, a Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors, a President and Director, and one or more Executive Vice Presidents and Directors, Senior Managing Directors and Managing Directors. The Chairman of the Board of Directors, Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors, President and Director, Executive Vice Presidents and Directors, and Senior Managing Directors are Representative Directors and severally represent the Company. A Japanese joint stock corporation with corporate auditors, such as Panasonic, is not obliged under the Company Law of Japan and related laws and ordinances (collectively, the “Company Law”), to have any outside directors on its board of directors. However, Panasonic has two (2) outside Directors. An “outside director” is defined as a director of the company who does not engage or has not engaged in the execution of business of the company or its subsidiaries as a director of any of these corporations, and who does not serve or has not served as an executive officer, manager or in any other capacity as an employee of the company or its subsidiaries. Outside Directors directly or indirectly cooperate with the internal audit, audit by Corporate Auditors and external audit, receive reports from the Internal Auditing Group and conduct an effective monitoring through reports on financial results at meetings of the Board of Directors and through reviews of the basic policy regarding the development of internal control systems and other methods. The term of office of Directors shall, under the Articles of Incorporation of the Company, expire at the conclusion of the ordinary general meeting of shareholders with respect to the last business year ending within one year from their election.
Corporate Auditors of the Company are not required to be, and are not, certified public accountants. Corporate Auditors may not at the same time be Directors, accounting counselors, executive officers, managers or any other capacity as employees of the Company or any of its subsidiaries. Under the Company Law, at least half of the Corporate Auditors shall be outside corporate auditors. An “outside corporate auditor” is defined as a corporate auditor of the company who has never been a director, accounting counselor, executive officer, manager or in any other capacity as an employee of the company or any of its subsidiaries. Outside Corporate Auditors directly or indirectly cooperate with the internal audit, audit by Corporate Auditors and accounting audit, receive reports from the Internal Auditing Group and conduct an effective monitoring through reports on financial results at meetings of the Board of Directors, through reviews of the basic policy regarding the development of internal control systems and through exchanges of opinions and information at meetings of the Board of Corporate Auditors and other methods. Each Corporate Auditor has the statutory duty to audit the non-consolidated and consolidated financial statements and business reports to be submitted by a Director to the general meeting of shareholders and, based on such audit and a report of an Accounting Auditor referred to below, to respectively prepare his or her audit report. Each Corporate Auditor also has the statutory duty to supervise Directors’ execution of their duties. The Corporate Auditors are required to attend meetings of the Board of Directors and express opinions, if necessary, at such meetings, but they are not entitled to vote. In addition, Corporate Auditors receive monthly reports regarding the status of the internal control system, the audit results, etc. from the Internal Audit Group or from other sections. Corporate Auditors may request the Internal Audit Group or the Accounting Auditor to conduct an investigation, if necessary. The terms of office shall expire at the conclusion of the ordinary general meeting of shareholders with respect to the last business year ending within four years from their election. However, they may serve any number of consecutive terms if re-elected.
Corporate Auditors constitute the Board of Corporate Auditors. The Board of Corporate Auditors has a statutory duty to, based on the reports prepared by respective Corporate Auditors, prepare and submit its audit report to Accounting Auditors and certain Directors designated to receive such report (if such Directors are not designated, the Directors who prepared the financial statements and the business report). A Corporate Auditor may note his or her opinion in the audit report if his or her opinion expressed in his or her audit report is different from the opinion expressed in the audit report of the Board of Corporate Auditors. The Board of Corporate Auditors shall elect one or more full-time Corporate Auditors from among its members. The Board of Corporate Auditors is empowered to establish auditing policies, the manner of investigation of the status of the corporate affairs and assets of the Company, and any other matters relating to the execution of the duties of Corporate Auditors. However, the Board of Corporate Auditors may not prevent each Corporate Auditor from exercising his or her powers.
Pursuant to amendments to the regulations of the Japanese stock exchanges in fiscal 2010, the Company is required to have one or more “independent director(s)/corporate auditor(s)” which terms are defined under the relevant regulations of the Japanese stock exchanges as “outside directors” or “outside corporate auditors” (each of which terms is defined under the Company Law) who are unlikely to have any conflict of interests with shareholders of the Company. All five (5) outside directors and corporate auditors satisfy the requirements for the “independent director/corporate auditor” under the regulations of the Japanese stock exchanges, respectively. The definition of the ”independent director/corporate auditor“ is different from that of the independent directors under the corporate governance standard of the New York Stock Exchange or under Rule 10A-3 under the U.S. Securities Exchange Act of 1934.
In addition to Corporate Auditors, an independent certified public accountant or an independent audit corporation must be appointed by general meetings of shareholders as Accounting Auditor of the Company. Such Accounting Auditor has the duties to audit the consolidated and non-consolidated financial statements proposed to be submitted by a Director at general meetings of shareholders and to report their opinion thereon to certain Corporate Auditors designated by the Board of Corporate Auditors to receive such report (if such Corporate Auditors are not designated, all Corporate Auditors) and certain Directors designated to receive such report (if such Directors are not designated, the Directors who prepared the financial statements). The consolidated financial statement is prepared in conformity with U.S. generally accepted accounting principles (U.S. GAAP) and financial information on a non-consolidated (a parent company alone) basis is in conformity with Japanese regulations.
Under the Company Law and the Articles of Incorporation of the Company, the Company may, by a resolution of the Board of Directors, exempt Directors or Corporate Auditors, acting in good faith and without significant negligence, from their liabilities owed to the Company arising in connection with their failure to perform their duties to the extent permitted by the Company Law. In addition, the Company has entered into liability limitation agreements with each of the outside Directors and outside Corporate Auditors, acting in good faith and without significant negligence, which limit the maximum amount of their liabilities owed to the Company arising in connection with their failure to perform their duties to the extent permitted by the Company Law.
The Company implemented in fiscal 2004 a reform of its corporate management and governance structure by (1) reorganizing the role of the Board of Directors, (2) introducing Panasonic’s own Executive Officer system* in its Group and (3) strengthening its Corporate Auditor system, all tailored to the Group’s new business domain-based, autonomous management structure.
- * Panasonic’s Executive Officer (“Yakuin”) system is a non-statutory system and different from the corporate executive officer (“Shikkoyaku”) system that Japanese corporations with board of directors and an accounting auditor may adopt at their option under the statutory corporate governance system referred to as “joint stock corporation with specified committees” system stipulated in the Company Law.
Panasonic’s Executive Officer system was introduced to address the diversity of business operations over the entire Group through delegation of authority and to help integrate the comprehensive strengths of all Group companies in Japan and overseas. The Board of Directors appoints Executive Officers mainly from senior management personnel of business domain companies as well as from management personnel responsible for overseas subsidiaries and certain senior corporate staff. The Executive Officers assume responsibility as the Group’s executives regarding execution of business. The Executive Officers may be given such titles as Vice President Executive Officer, Senior Managing Executive Officer, Managing Executive Officer and Executive Officer, depending on the extent of responsibility and achievement of each individual. The terms of office of the Executive Officers shall expire at the conclusion of the ordinary general meeting of shareholders with respect to the last business year of the Company ending within one year from their election. Each of the Executive Officers has the authority to operate businesses for which such Executive Officer is responsible, under the supervision of the Board of Directors and in accordance with the Board of Directors’ decisions on the management of corporate affairs.
The Board of Directors has, at the same time, been reformed in order to concentrate on establishing corporate strategies and supervising the implementation thereof by the Executive Officers. The Company has limited the number of Directors to facilitate more effective decision-making, and shortened their term of office to one year in order to clarify their responsibilities. Taking into consideration the diversified scope of the Company’s business operations, the Company has chosen to continue its policy of having management personnel, who are well-versed in day-to-day operations at operational fronts, be members of the Board of Directors, while outside Directors continue to fully participate in Board meetings.
Meanwhile, the non-statutory full-time senior auditors were appointed to strengthen auditing functions at each business domain company. In addition, the Company has also launched the “Panasonic Group Auditor Meeting” chaired by the Senior Corporate Auditors of the Company in order to promote collaboration among the Company’s Corporate Auditors, the non-statutory full-time senior auditors of the business domain companies and the corporate auditors of the Company’s subsidiaries and affiliates. Moreover, as a part of their audit duties, Corporate Auditors maintain a close working relationship with the Internal Audit Group of the Company to ensure effective audits. Furthermore, in order to enhance the effectiveness of audits conducted by Corporate Auditors and ensure the smooth implementation of audits, the Company has established a Corporate Auditor’s Office with full-time staff under the direct control of the Board of Corporate Auditors.
The aggregate amount of remuneration, including equity compensation such as stock options, bonuses, and other financial benefits given in consideration of performance of duties (collectively, the “remunerations”), paid by the Company during fiscal 2012 to 21 Directors (other than Outside Directors) and 3 Corporate Auditors (other than Outside Corporate Auditors) for services in all capacities was 1,081 million yen and 69 million yen, respectively. The amount of remunerations for 2 Outside Directors and 3 Outside Corporate Auditors was 28 million yen and 42 million yen, respectively, in fiscal 2012.
The amount of remunerations for Mr. Kunio Nakamura, Executive Adviser, and Mr. Fumio Ohtsubo, Chairman of the Board of Director, was 133 million yen and 113 million yen, respectively, in fiscal 2012.
Under the Company Law, the maximum amounts of remuneration of directors and corporate auditors of Japanese joint stock corporations, except for a “joint stock corporation with specified committees,” must be approved at a general meeting of shareholders if the articles of incorporation of the company do not provide items about remuneration of directors and corporate auditors. Companies must also obtain the approval at a general meeting of shareholders to change such maximum amounts. Therefore, the remuneration of the directors and corporate auditors are subject to the approval of shareholders if the articles of incorporation of the company do not prescribe such items. The maximum total amounts of remunerations for Directors and Corporate Auditors of the Company are therefore determined by a resolution at a general meeting of shareholders, because the Articles of Incorporation of the Company do not provide such items, and thus remuneration of Directors and Corporate Auditors of the Company is under the oversight of shareholders. The remuneration amount for each Director is determined by the Company’s Representative Directors who are delegated to do so by the Board of Directors, and the amount of remuneration for each Corporate Auditor is determined upon discussions amongst the Corporate Auditors.
The amounts of the remuneration and bonuses of Directors are linked to individual performance based on Capital Cost Management (CCM), sales and CO2 emissions (an environmental management indicator). By implementing this new performance evaluation criteria based on shareholder interests, the Company intends to promote continuous growth and enhance profitability on a long-term basis for the Panasonic Group as a whole.
2. Policy on Control of Panasonic Corporation
Since the Company’s establishment in 1918, Panasonic has operated its businesses under its basic management philosophy, which sets forth that the mission as a business enterprise is to contribute to the progress and development of society and the well-being of people through its business activities, thereby offering better quality of life throughout the world. To become a global excellent company that contributes to the resolution of global environment issues, Panasonic will work to sustainably grow its corporate value to satisfy its shareholders, investors, customers, business partners, employees and all other stakeholders.
Panasonic has a basic policy that shareholders should make final decisions in the event of a Large-scale Purchase of the Company’s shares, regarding whether or not the Large-scale Purchase should be accepted. However, there is a possibility that such Large-scale Purchaser may not provide shareholders to make appropriate decisions. There is also concern that any Large-scale Purchase may damage corporate value and shareholder interest. In this event, the Company may take countermeasures in order to protect the interests of all shareholders.
Measures to Realize Basic Policy
- 1) Specific Measures to Realize Basic Policy
In engaging in activities that help enrich people’s lives, Panasonic aims to become a company that is capable of taking the lead in solving global environment issues, the world’s common challenge. Leading up to its 100th anniversary in 2018, Panasonic has set a vision of becoming the No.1 Green Innovation Company in the Electronics Industry. In this context, Panasonic has positioned its three-year midterm management plan, Green Transformation 2012 (GT12), as a first step along this path. Under the guidance of this plan, the Company will closely integrate its environment contribution with business growth as highlighted by the two central themes of the plan: “Paradigm shift for growth” and “Laying a foundation to be a green innovation company.” From a paradigm shift to growth perspective, Panasonic is working diligently to shift its activities from (1) existing businesses to new businesses - such as energy; (2) Japanoriented to globally-oriented, and (3) individual product-oriented to solutions & systems business-oriented. The Company will adopt bold and unconventional measures over the three years of the plan in its efforts to become a group filled with strong growth potential. In completing the conversion of Panasonic Electric Works Co., Ltd. (PEW) and SANYO Electric Co., Ltd. (SANYO) to wholly-owned subsidiaries in April 2011, and putting in place a new structure through Group-wide business reorganization, Panasonic will accelerate these initiatives under the plan.
- 2) Measures Based on the Basic Policy to Prevent Control by Inappropriate Parties
On April 28, 2005, the Board of Directors resolved to adopt a policy related to a Large-scale Purchase of the Company’s shares called the Enhancement of Shareholder Value (ESV) Plan. The ESV Plan has been approved at every Board of Directors meeting held in April since then. On April 28, 2011, the Board of Directors resolved to continue the ESV Plan. The Board of Directors’ meeting to be held in May 2012 decided to continue the ESV Plan again.
With respect to a Large-scale Purchaser who intends to acquire 20% or more of all voting rights of the Company, this policy requires that (1) a Large-scale Purchaser provide sufficient information, such as its outline, purposes and conditions, the basis for determination of the purchase price and funds for purchase, and management policies and business plans which the Large-scale Purchaser intends to adopt after the completion of the Large-scale Purchase, to the Board of Directors before a Large-scale Purchase is to be conducted and (2) after all required information is provided, the Board of Directors should be allowed a sufficient period of time (a sixty-day period or a ninety-day period) for consideration. The Board of Directors intends to assess and examine any proposed Large-scale Purchase after the information on such purchase is provided, and subsequently to disclose the opinion of the Board of Directors and any other information needed to assist shareholders in making their decisions. The Board of Directors may negotiate with the Large-scale Purchaser regarding purchase conditions or suggest alternative plans to shareholders, if it is deemed necessary.
If a Large-scale Purchaser does not comply with the rules laid out in the ESV Plan, the Company’s Board of Directors may take countermeasures against the Large-scale Purchaser to protect the interests of all shareholders. Countermeasures include the implementation of share splits, issuance of stock acquisition rights (including allotment of share options without contribution) or any other measures that the Board of Directors is permitted to take under the Company Law of Japan, other laws and the Company’s Articles of Incorporation. If a Large-scale Purchaser complies with the Large-scale Purchase rules, the Board of Directors does not intend to prevent the Large-scale Purchase at its own discretion, unless it is clear that such Large-scale Purchase will cause irreparable damage or loss to the Company.
The Board of Directors will make decisions relating to countermeasures by referring to advice from outside professionals, such as lawyers and financial advisers, and fully respect the opinions of Outside Directors and statutory corporate auditors.
When invoking the aforementioned countermeasures, if the Company’s Board of Directors decides that it is appropriate to confirm the will of shareholders from the perspective of the interest of all shareholders, a general meeting of shareholders will be held. If the Company’s Board of Directors decides to hold a general meeting of shareholders, it will give notice to that effect as well as the reasons for such a meeting at that time.
The Board of Directors will adopt specific countermeasures which it deems appropriate at that time. If the Board of Directors elects to make a stock split for shareholders as of a certain record date, the maximum ratio of the stock split shall be five-for-one. If the Board of Directors elects to issue stock acquisition rights to shareholders, the Company will issue one stock acquisition right for every share held by shareholders on a specified record date. One share shall be issued on the exercise of each stock acquisition right. If the Board of Directors elects to issue stock acquisition rights as a countermeasure, it may determine the exercise period and exercise conditions of the stock acquisition rights, as well as the conditions that allow the Company to acquire share options by swapping Company stock with a party other than the Large-scale Purchaser, in consideration of the effectiveness thereof as a countermeasure, such as the condition that shareholders do not belong to a specific group of shareholders including a Large-scale Purchaser.
The Company recognizes that the aforementioned countermeasures may cause damage or loss, economic or otherwise, to a prospective Large-scale Purchaser who does not comply with the Large-scale Purchase Rules. The Company does not anticipate that taking such countermeasures will cause shareholders, other than the Large-scale Purchaser, economic damage or loss of any rights. However, in the event that the Board of Directors determines to take a specific countermeasure, the Board of Directors will disclose such countermeasure in a timely and appropriate manner, pursuant to relevant laws and financial instrument exchange regulations.
The term of office for all Directors is one year, and Directors are elected at the Ordinary General Meeting of Shareholders held in June every year. The Company’s Board of Directors intends to review the Large-scale Purchase Rules, as necessary, for reasons including amendments to applicable legislation. Any such review would be conducted in the interests of all shareholders.
The Company’s Board of Directors resolved to continue the ESV Plan at a meeting held on May 11, 2012.
Please refer to the Company’s homepage
(URL http://panasonic.co.jp/corp/news/official.data/data.dir/en120511-5/en120511-5.pdf ) for details.
Evaluation of Measures by the Board of Directors and Rationale for Evaluation
Panasonic’s mid-term management plan was formulated as a specific measure to increase the Company’s corporate value in a sustained manner. The ESV Plan was formulated from the perspective of protecting shareholder value, and is aimed at ensuring shareholders receive sufficient information to make decisions on share purchase proposals by allowing those responsible for the management of the Company, the Board of Directors, to provide their evaluation of any proposed Large-scale Purchase, and providing the opportunity for alternative proposals to be submitted.
Consequently, these measures, in accordance with Basic Policy, are intended to protect the interests of all the Company’s shareholders.
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