GfK Group: Annual Report GfK. Growth from Knowledge

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1 GfK Group: Annual Report 2007 Beyond the horizon to global opportunities GfK. Growth from Knowledge

2 Contents GfK. Growth from Knowledge Beyond the horizon to global opportunities III Our corporate values IV GfK Group 2007 in figures Provisional key dates in the financial calendar 1 Mission Statement at a glance 4 The Supervisory Board 5 Report by the Supervisory Board 8 Letter to shareholders 12 The Management Board 14 Corporate Governance 21 GfK shares 29 GfK Special 32 HealthCare Lilly loves life 38 Media The customer on the couch rules 44 Consumer Tracking Making markets with brands 50 Retail and Technology A reliable database 56 Custom Research Think globally, act locally Management report and financial statements of the GfK Group 62 Management report 92 Financial statements 98 Notes to the consolidated financial statements 135 Auditors report Additional information 138 Overview of years 142 Glossaries IV Financial calendar V List of GfK company abbreviations VI Index VII Acknowledgements II

3 Our corporate values Client driven Our clients needs drive our business. We continuously seek to better understand our clients needs, improve all aspects of existing research products, offer innovative products and to be an integral part of our clients information systems. Accuracy, sound methodology, excellent client service, flexibility, timely delivery and cost effectiveness all ensure that we meet and even exceed our clients expectations. We build long-term partnerships with our clients, contributing to their success. Our people People are our main asset. Development through training, sharing ideas and sound experience is essential to our business. Our people have the freedom to explore and develop their talents and are empowered to achieve our common goals. We encourage and reward initiative, dedication and hard work. Fairness, good communication and working relationships at all levels and locations are key to our success. Innovation We recognize that investing in continuous innovation in both the process and the end product is a prerequisite to meeting clients requirements. Our aim is to be at the cutting edge with our key business activities. Clients needs, evolving markets, new technology and the expertise and ideas of our people throughout the world are what drive innovation. Global experience local knowledge We respect and learn from local business practices and cultures and provide knowledge tailored to local needs. Our global network comprises international teams, tools and products to provide multinational clients with consistent services. As proud members of the GfK Group, we share local and international expertise to continually improve all aspects of our business. Growth Profitable growth results in greater opportunities. As individuals, teams and business units, we are aware of the impact of our decisions and actions at all levels. We use financial and non-financial measurements to review and improve performance on an ongoing basis. Our growth provides investors with a fair return on the financial resources they have entrusted to us. III

4 GfK Group 2007 in figures Change in % Sales in eur m 1, , ebitda in eur m Adjusted operating income 1) in eur m Margin 2) in % Operating income in eur m Income from ongoing business activity in eur m Consolidated total income in eur m Tax ratio in % Cash flow from operating activity in eur m Earnings per share eur Dividend per share eur Total dividend in eur m No. of employees at year-end full-time 7,903 9, ) Adjusted operating income is calculated from operating income. The following expenses and earnings have been eliminated: integration costs arising in connection with the acquisition of companies, amortization on hidden reserves and impairment of additional assets identified on acquisitions as part of purchase price allocation, personnel expenses for share-based payments and long-term incentives, any other remaining operating income and expenses, in particular, currency effects resulting from the reporting date valuation. 2) Adjusted operating income in relation to sales in % Provisional key dates in the financial calendar March 31, 2008 Accounts press conference, Nuremberg March 31, 2008 Analysts conference, Frankfurt/Main May 15, 2008 Quarterly report as of March 31 1) May 21, 2008 Annual General Meeting, Fürth August 14, 2008 Interim report as of June 30 1) November 14, 2008 Quarterly report as of September 30 1) February 27, 2009 Provisional result for financial year ) March 31, 2009 Accounts press conference, Nuremberg March 31, 2009 Analysts conference, Frankfurt/Main May 15, 2009 Quarterly report as of March 31 1) May 20, 2009 Annual General Meeting, Fürth August 14, 2009 Interim report as of June 30 1) November 13, 2009 Quarterly report as of September 30 1) 1) Publication is scheduled for before the start of the trading session IV

5 Mission Statement GfK GROUP GfK. Growth from Knowledge > > > Companies need to make decisions. Knowledge is the basis for decision- making. Our business information services provide the essential knowledge that industry, retail, the service sector and the media need in order to make their decisions. > > > As a knowledge provider, we aim to be at the top in all the global markets in which we operate in the interests of our clients, our employees, our company, our shareholders and the general public. GfK_1

6 GfK GROUP 2007 at a glance 2007 at a glance January According to Research & Results magazine, GfK is the most-frequently quoted market research organization in political and economic reporting in the German media for 2005 and GfK acquires a further 80% of shares in Jan Schipper in the Netherlands, and the healthcare company becomes a 100% subsidiary of GfK. February Dr. Silvestre Bertolini, Managing Director of GfK Marketing Services, Italy, meets the Italian President Giorgio Napolitano to discuss the market-research industry. March The new area-planning software district 10 by GfK GeoMarketing wins the innovation prize of the Medium to Small Business Initiative in the category of Business Intelligence at the world s largest computer trade fair CeBIT in Hannover, Germany. GfK is Gold Sponsor of the Asian-Pacific Conference of the international market research association esomar in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. GfK nop uk is the main sponsor of the Jubilee Congress of the British Market Research Society (mrs) and at the same time celebrates its 50-year company anniversary with a series of donations to welfare projects running throughout the year. TOP CAREER WEBSITE 2007 April The career pages of the GfK website take up 18th position among German companies and receive the Top Career Website award for 2007 from the Swedish business consultant Potentialpark. GfK is the sole principal sponsor for the annual conference of the Advertising Research Foundation (arf) in New York, usa. May Dr. Richard B. Vanderveer, Group ceo of GfK s u.s. healthcare companies is awarded one the most respected prizes in the pharmaceutical market-research branch: the Mary Clement Lifetime Achievement Award from the industry association pbirg. GfK Hellas acquires the Greek Custom- Research company edge Market Research and Consultancy. June Within the companies of the S-Dax, GfK achieves third place in the Capital-Investor- Relations-Prize for 2007 awarded by the periodical Capital in Germany. Dr. Raimund Wildner, Managing Director of GfK Nuremberg e.v. and manager of Central Methods and Product Development is voted market-research personality of the year for 2007 at the annual congress of the Professional Association of German Market and Social Researchers. With the acquisition of Stratum Healthcare, GfK expands its network in Croatia and Serbia. 2_GfK

7 2007 at a glance GfK GROUP 2007 at a glance July Christian Weller von Ahlefeld, Chief Finance Officer of the GfK Group, is appointed as a member of the Management Board for a further five years. Joint Venture GfK m 2 founded. The new company, in which the GfK Group has a 70% participation, is based in the Swiss town of Hergiswil and is internationally active in the field of entertainment media. According to statistics from the American industry service Inside Research, the GfK Group leads the top-50 fastest-growing us market research companies. August GfK Group acquires 51% of the largest Macedonian market-research company Stratum Research. GfK-subsidiary isl (Institut de Sondage Lavialle) takes over the French Mystery- Shopping expert satisteme. September GfK is Gold Sponsor of the esomar annual congress in Berlin, Germany, and receives the Case-History Award for the essay Training the next generation: It s market research, but not as we know it. Intomart GfK takes over the Netherlands Daphne Communication Management Institute, one of the leading experts in reach measurement and evaluation of advertising campaigns. October The GfK Annual Report wins first prize for design and presentation in the Best Annual Report contest of German economics periodical manager magazine. GfK Group expands its network with the market research company Trustmark cfi based in Zurich, Switzerland. November The us-based GfK-subsidiary mri is voted most popular media researcher by the market-research magazine Inside Research. GfK Optics Japan is founded with the takeover of the Japanese Optic-Panel from The Nielsen Company. December Professor Dr. Klaus L. Wübbenhorst, ceo of the GfK Group, receives the Federal Service Cross. Debra a. Pruent is appointed to the Management Board as from January 1, GfK Group donates the profits of eur 40,000 from its worldwide Christmas campaign to the local Home for Children and Young People in Reutersbrunnen Strasse and other social care institutions in Nuremberg, Germany. GfK_3

8 GfK GROUP The Supervisory Board The Supervisory Board Hajo Riesenbeck Chairman of the Supervisory Board Director of McKinsey & Company, Düsseldorf, Germany President of GfK-nürnberg, Gesellschaft für Konsum-, Markt- und Absatzforschung e.v., Berlin, Germany Dr. Christoph Achenbach Managing Director and Partner of the intes Group, Bonn, Germany Dr. Wolfgang C. Berndt Member of the Board of Directors of the Institute for the Future, Menlo Park, California, usa Kerstin Döpfert Independent Works Council representative at GfK Aktiengesellschaft, Nuremberg, Germany Sandra Hofstetter Independent Works Council representative at GfK Aktiengesellschaft, Nuremberg, Germany Dr. Arno Mahlert Deputy Chairman of the Supervisory Board Chairman of the Board of Directors of maxingvest ag, Hamburg, Germany Stefan Pfander Senior Consultant at Wm. Wrigley Jr. Company, Chicago, usa Senior Consultant at Lehman Brothers, London, Great Britain Jürgen Schreiber ceo and President of Shopper Drug Mart, Toronto, Canada Dieter Wilbois Independent Works Council representative (Chairman of the Works Council and the Group Works Council) of GfK Aktiengesellschaft, Nuremberg, Germany Audit Committee Dr. Arno Mahlert (Chairman) Dr. Christoph Achenbach Stefan Pfander Dieter Wilbois HR Committee Hajo Riesenbeck (Chairman) Dr. Wolfgang C. Berndt Kerstin Döpfert Jürgen Schreiber Presidial Committee Hajo Riesenbeck (Chairman) Dr. Arno Mahlert Dieter Wilbois Nominations Committee Hajo Riesenbeck (Chairman) Dr. Wolfgang C. Berndt Dr. Arno Mahlert Peter Zühlsdorff Honorary Chairman of the Supervisory Board Managing Shareholder of dih Deutsche Industrie-Holding GmbH, Frankfurt/Main, Germany 4_GfK

9 Report by the Supervisory Board GfK GROUP Report by the Supervisory Board Hajo Riesenbeck Supervisory Board Chairman Director of McKinsey & Company, Düsseldorf In financial year 2007, the Supervisory Board kept itself informed on a regular basis of the GfK Group s business development, income and financial position, its personnel situation and impending investments. It has monitored and advised on the activities of the company s Management Board and discussed all significant business events with the Management Board. In financial year 2007, the Supervisory Board met six times with the Management Board and once without the Management Board. The Management-Board reports and the company s prospects for development were discussed in depth at these meetings. The main topics here were the strategic direction of the GfK Group, its international acquisitions activity, the annual accounts for 2006, the development of business during 2007 and the budget for financial year In financial year 2007, the Chairman of the Supervisory Board maintained constant contact with the Management Board. There were no changes to the Supervisory Board in The Supervisory Board has dealt with the rules of the German Corporate Governance Code and on December 12, 2007, issued a declaration of compliance pursuant to Section 161 of the German Stock Corporation Act (AktG). The company complies in full with the mandatory regulations with the exception of three requirements and with the voluntary regulations with the exception of one requirement. The few deviations are indicated on page 19 of the present Annual Report in the Corporate Governance Report. GfK_5

10 GfK GROUP Report by the Supervisory Board Report by the Supervisory Board The work of the Supervisory Board is supported by four committees: the Audit Committee, the Human Resources Committee, the Presidial Committee and the Nominations Committee. The Audit Committee is headed by Dr. Arno Mahlert, Deputy Chairman of the Supervisory Board. It met four times in the reporting period, dealt with the company s business development, income and financial position as well as impending investments. Additional focal points were issues of financing, questions pertaining to the accounting system including interim reporting, the internal audit and fraud reporting. The hr Committee is headed by Hajo Riesenbeck, Chairman of the Supervisory Board. It met three times in the reporting period. The focal points were the remuneration of the Management Board, the extension of the contract of Chief Finance Officer Christian Weller von Ahlfeld by five years and the appointment of Debra A. Pruent to the Management Board of GfK ag. Her first appointment as a member of the Management Board on January 1, 2008 was made according to the rules of the Corporate Governance Code for three years. Debra a. Pruent assumes responsibility for strategy, methods, products and marketing for the Custom-Research activities of the GfK Group in the North America region. She brings to the Board more than 25 years of professional experience in market research, both from the industry itself and also through her activities with nop World, especially in the automotive industry. With this expansion of the Management Board, the Supervisory Board takes into consideration the expanded, international orientation of the GfK Group. The Presidial Committee did not meet in the reporting period. The Supervisory Board formed a Nominations Committee in its meeting on December 12, Its members are Hajo Riesenbeck, Chairman of the Supervisory Board, Dr. Arno Mahlert, Deputy Chairman of the Supervisory Board and Dr. Wolfgang C. Berndt, Member of the Supervisory Board. The Committee deals with questions relating to the selection of future Supervisory Board members. In accordance with the Corporate Governance Code, the Supervisory Board commissioned an external specialist to audit the efficiency of its activities. The overall result of this audit is very satisfactory. The annual financial statements and management report for GfK ag and the GfK Group for financial year 2007 have been audited by kpmg Deutsche Treuhand-Gesellschaft Aktiengesellschaft Wirtschaftsprüfungsgesellschaft, Nuremberg, and provided with an unqualified auditors report. All Supervisory Board members received copies of the auditors report accurately timed. 6_GfK

11 GfK GROUP Report by the Supervisory Board The Audit Committee of the Supervisory Board discussed these documents at its preparatory meeting, as did the full Supervisory Board in its accounts meeting. Both these meetings were attended by the auditors, who signed the annual and consolidated financial statements. They reported on the audit in general and on the key points stipulated in the audit mandate and also gave detailed responses to questions from the members of the Supervisory Board. The Supervisory Board has noted the audit report and, following its own examination of the annual financial statements prepared by the Management Board, has given its approval. The financial statements are therefore adopted. The Supervisory Board has seconded the proposal of the Management Board for appropriation of profits. The Supervisory Board would like to thank the members of the Management Board, the Works Councils and the staff of the GfK Group for their hard work and commitment. Nuremberg, March 27, 2008 Hajo Riesenbeck GfK_7

12 GfK GROUP Letter to Shareholders Aktionärsbrief Professor Dr. Klaus L. Wübbenhorst Chief Executive Officer of GfK ag Dear Shareholders and Business Associates, We can look back on a successful financial year A new sales record, a higher operating income, a significantly-increased annual surplus and a good cash flow all demonstrate that we have the right employees, the right products and the right ideas. Review of 2007 The tail wind from an organic growth of 5.8%, assisted the GfK Group in the achievement of worldwide consolidated sales of eur 1.16 billion. In terms of growth of sales alone, we are the eighteenth largest company in the usa. At home, in Germany, we occupy fourth position. With around 3,000 employees in Central and Eastern Europe, Asia and the Pacific, and the Latin American region at the end of 2007, we have gained a significant profile in the growth regions of our industry. This represents a satisfactory result. Our positioning as one of the top-10 global players in the industry is secure. We have attained attractive market positions in the key nations. In the usa, the country with the highest sales in the industry worldwide according to esomar, the GfK Group is seventh in the market. Great Britain records the second highest sales in the industry. Here, GfK occupies fourth place. In France, the nation with the third highest sales, GfK is number four in the market. In Germany, where the fourth-highest sales for the industry worldwide were achieved, GfK holds its position as uncontested market leader. In the dynamically-growing bric countries, GfK has continued to develop its market position. For instance, GfK is in fifth position in Brazil, second in Russia, fourth in India and seventh in China. 8_GfK

13 GfK GROUP Letter to Shareholders To ensure that shareholders can participate in our corporate success, at the Annual General Meeting on May 21, 2008, the Supervisory Board and the Management Board will propose a significant increase in dividends by 25% from eur 0.36 to eur With a dividend-distribution quota of around 20% of the annual surplus adjusted for special effects, we particularly aim to have sufficient financial resources for repayment of debts and the development of operating business. Changes in the model for success There is therefore no doubt that our positioning in the market is a model for success. In spite of, or rather because of this fact, it is an important management responsibility to cast a critical eye over the current situation. The Management Board and the Supervisory Board fulfilled this responsibility in the preceding financial year and noted cardinal pointers for future years. From financial year 2008, the GfK Group will offer its services in three sectors, thereby moving forward from the previous structure of five business divisions. At the same time, the Management Board has been further internationalized with the appointment of the American member, Debra a. Pruent. The three sectors of the GfK Group are: Custom Research Retail and Technology Media The decisive factor in this new structure was the orientation of our offering towards the various information sources. We gather our raw material, which we transform into knowledge for our customers, from three different sources: consumers and doctors the retail trade the media We bundle information from consumers and doctors in the Custom Research sector. Data from the retail trade is bundled under Retail and Technology and media information is collated under Media. We are convinced that less is more. Controlling and communication through three sectors is clearer, more efficient and creates synergies, which will accelerate our dynamics. The qualitative goals associated with this approach will still be presented to you in terms of sales and income, and updated in our quarterly reports. Internal activities will be focussed even more sharply on our core competencies. GfK_9

14 GfK GROUP Letter to Shareholders Letter to shareholders The Custom Research sector offers a wide range of tests and studies relating to product and pricing policy, brand marketing, communications, distribution and customer loyalty. This sector specializes in the consumer, financial services, media and communications, business and technology, the automotive industry and the rapidly-developing fields of consumer tracking and healthcare. The Retail and Technology sector provides information and advisory services, which are derived from continuous data acquisition, and analyses the sale of consumer goods and services in the retail trade. These include, amongst others, studies relating to the market segments of office communication, photo-technology and optics, household electrical goods, information technology, telecommunications, sports equipment, tourism and entertainment electronics and media. The Media sector offers information services relating to the reach, intensity and type of exploitation of media and media offerings, and their acceptance. The new structure came into effect on January 1, Debra a. Pruent also added her strengths to the Management Board of GfK ag on January 1, She can look back over a long and successful career in market research with the central focus on the automotive industry. Within the Management Board, Debra a. Pruent will concentrate on North America, which will ensure even greater market proximity in the most important country for market research worldwide. Another step into the future was also achieved with the transformation of GfK ag into a European Company, GfK se. An se (Societas Europaea) is a modern legal form, which supports an open and international corporate culture. It is the expression of a corporatelyexperienced Europe. The change of form does not change the legal or economic identity of the company. For instance, the rights of shareholders, stock-exchange listing and the head office of the company will remain unchanged. The two-tier management system of Supervisory Board and Management Board is also retained. This change of legal form requires the agreement of the qualified majority of shareholders. The Supervisory Board and the Management Board, therefore, politely request your consent in this matter. 10_GfK

15 GfK GROUP Letter to Shareholders Outlook for 2008 At the beginning of 2008, there is an atmosphere of uncertainty about the development of the world economic situation. Experts believe that world economic growth will lose some of its momentum. This will be felt especially in the established, industrial nations. By contrast, economic performance in the newly-industrializing countries should maintain the same high level. In the past, market research regularly achieved growth rates above the growth rate of the world economy and the advertising industry. It has also proved resistant to crises and has remained stable, even in economically-troubled times. Your company, GfK, has a widely diversified corporate portfolio. Sectors, which pursue a rather steady market development, are supplemented by sectors, which are subject to more strongly-cyclical influences. Our guidance for the year 2008 takes this assessment of the economic situation into consideration. We assume an organic growth of more than 5.5%. This means we will grow more rapidly than our industry, the growth of which experts predict at between four and five percent. The group margin is supposed to be above 13%. This is significantly higher than the results of our substantial competitors. In view of our well-developed business model, we anticipate that we will be able to maintain our margin at a high level even with a regressive world economy. In this context, the pillars of our 5 Star Initiative will support operating measures: continuous further development of our business sectors, development of our network with the focus on the newly-industrializing countries and investment in our range of fact-based consultancy for our customers. I cordially invite you to accompany us along this path and should like to express my personal thanks to you for your support. Yours faithfully, Prof. Dr. Klaus L. Wübbenhorst GfK_11

16 GfK GROUP The Management Board An international line-up: Dr. Gérard Hermet, Petra Heinlein, Professor Dr. Klaus L. Wübbenhorst, Debra A. Pruent, Wilhelm R. Wessels, Christian Weller von Ahlefeld (from left to right) 12_GfK

17 The Management Board GfK GROUP The Management Board Professor Dr. Klaus L. Wübbenhorst born 1956 Chief Executive Officer (ceo), responsible for Strategy, Internal Audit, Method and Product Development, Corporate Communications and it Services Professional career Since 1998 Spokesman and, since 1999, ceo of GfK ag, appointed until 2012 Since 2005 President of the Chamber of Industry and Commerce for Middle Franconia in Nuremberg Member of the Management Board of GfK ag, responsible for Finances, Accounting, Financial Controlling, Personnel, Purchasing, Production and it Member of the Management Board of kba-planeta ag, Radebeul near Dresden Employee of Bertelsmann ag, Gütersloh, becoming Managing Director of Druck- und Verlagsanstalt Wiener Verlag, Himberg near Vienna Education 2005 Awarded the title of Honorary Professor by Friedrich-Alexander University in Erlangen- Nuremberg 1984 Doctorate from the Technische Hochschule, Darmstadt 1981 Graduated in Business Administration from the University/Gesamthochschule, Essen Christian Weller von Ahlefeld born 1958 Chief Financial Officer (cfo) and hr Director, responsible for Finances, Financial Controlling and Accounting, Personnel and Administration Professional career Since June 1, 2005 Member of the Management Board of GfK ag, appointed until cfo of the Tele-München Group Director and Head of Group Finance at Siemens ag and Manager of Siemens Financial Services division Executive Director of sbc Warburg and member of the corporate management of J. P. Morgan J. P. Morgan in New York, London and Frankfurt, becoming Vice President and member of the European Corporate Finance Executive Committee Assistant to the management of Heinrich D. Hansen in Flensburg Education 1981 Graduated in Business Administration from the Freie Universität Hamburg Petra Heinlein born 1958 Responsible for the Custom Research sector for all regions with the exception of North America Professional career Since 2002 Member of the Management Board of GfK ag, appointed until Integration management on behalf of GfK ag Managing Director of contest census in Frankfurt 1985 Joined GfK as project manager with GfK Marktforschung 1984 Research Assistant at the Arnold- Bergstraesser Institute, Freiburg im Breisgau Education 1984 Graduated in Political Science from the University of Bamberg Dr. Gérard Hermet born 1951 Responsible for the Retail and Technology sector Professional career Since 1999 Member of the Management Board of GfK ag, appointed until Chairman of the French Marketing Association (afm) Managing Director of GfK Sofema, France Managing Director of GfK France, then General Manager GfK Marketing Services, France Employed by Burke Marketing Research, Paris, France Education 1978 Doctorate from the University of Grenoble 1975 mba from the French Business School (icn) Debra A. Pruent born 1961 Responsibility for Custom Research North America Professional career Since January 1, 2008 member of the Management Board of GfK ag, appointed until Chief Operation Officer (coo) of GfK Custom Research North America Employee of the us automotive-industry market-researcher Allison-Fisher International, most recently as ceo Various management functions with General Motors Corporation, usa Extraordinary Professor of Statistics at Oakland University, usa Education 1986 Degree in Applied Statistics from Oakland University, usa 1983 Degree in Mathematics and Computer Science from Wayne State University, usa Wilhelm R. Wessels born 1952 Responsible for the Media sector Professional career Since 1996 Member of the Management Board of GfK ag, appointed until Managing Director of GfK ag, Gesundheitsforschung/i+g Gruppe Gesundheitsund Pharma-Marktforschung Managing Director of gpi, Gesellschaft für Pharma-Informationssysteme, Nuremberg/ Frankfurt 1978 Joined GfK as a Research Associate Education 1977 Graduated in Business Administration from the University of Saarbrücken GfK_13

18 GfK GROUP Corporate Governance Corporate Governance The management of GfK is committed to increasing the value added of the company on a responsible, transparent and sustained basis. This is documented by almost total compliance with the Corporate Governance principles Declaration of compliance without material restrictions The Management Board and the Supervisory Board issued their declarations of compliance pursuant to Section 161 of the Joint Stock Corporation Act (AktG) on December 12, The declaration of compliance is on page 19. The company complies with all of the recommendations under the Code apart from one. The exception relates to information regarding third companies. For these companies, the company publishes the share in capital and equity capital, but not the respective income from the preceding financial year. The decisive factor here is that transparency at the individual-company level could be disadvantageous to the company s competitiveness. GfK also complies with almost all of the non-binding suggestions in the Code. There is only one point where compliance is restricted. This relates to the appointment of a proxy-representative for the execution of shareholders voting rights in accordance with instructions. The appointment is to be implemented by the Management Board. The representative should also be contactable during the Annual General Meeting. Since 2007, the company provides a full, online webcast of the Annual General Meeting, unless there is any objection to this from shareholders and shareholders representatives. In future, it is intended to secure the contactability of shareholders representatives during the Annual General Meeting. This should guarantee that shareholders can issue instructions to the company via their representatives even during the Annual General Meeting. Management and control structure As a German joint stock company (ag), GfK is subject to the German Stock Corporation Act and has a two-tier management and control structure comprising Management Board consisting of six persons (from January 1, 2008) and a Supervisory Board with nine members. Two thirds of the members of the Supervisory Board comprise representatives of the shareholders and one third, representatives of the employees. In accordance with the standing rules of the Supervisory Board, its representatives are independent. Alongside their activity for the Supervisory Board, the majority of the members also held high-ranking positions in other companies during the last year. The Supervisory Board advises and monitors the Management Board in the management of business operations. Consequently, expertise from trade, industry and financial sector at both national and international levels should be represented in the composition of the Supervisory Board. The Supervisory Board has formed four independent committees, the Audit Committee, the Human Resources Committee, the Presidial Committee and the Nominations Committee. The Code recommends that the Chairman of the Audit Committee has particular expertise and experience in the application of accounting principles and internal financial controlling procedures. The Audit Committee is chaired by Dr Arno Mahlert, who has been a member of 14_GfK

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