Nieuws - 3 maart 2010

Dijkhuizen goes below three hundred thousand euros

Board chairman reappointed but gets lower bonus. Communication must be improved.

Aalt Dijkhuizen: 'My management style is indeed direct.'
The Supervisory Board has reappointed Aalt Dijkhuizen for a third term of four years. His salary has been a bone of contention - his total remuneration is 313 thousand euros. Margreeth de Boer of the Supervisory Board says: 'We did look into the remuneration of course; there were a lot of negotiations. We can't do anything about the fixed salary which is based on an employment contract signed eight years ago. The bonus, however, will be reduced over four years from about thirty to ten percent.'
Dijkhuizen did not himself propose to relinquish his bonus. 'This is in fact a performance reward which will be less or even completely withheld if performance is bad. Well, emotions always run high when it comes to income differences. That happens at every level, including mine for sure.'

Dijkhuizen commanded a higher salary in his previous job at Nutreco. He points out that the bonus was agreed upon at that time to partly compensate for the salary cut. His would be rewarded based on the financial figures and on the results of education, research and organization. 'Were I to have done badly, I would feel the pinch in my purse too, and vice versa. It's a challenge which spurs me on.'
The reduction also applies to the entire Executive Board. The bonuses for Dijkhuizen, Martin Kropff and Tijs Breukink will soon be a maximum of ten percent, similar to that for members of the Board of Directors and other directors.
The Supervisory Board also wants Dijkhuizen to reduce his ancillary appointments. Dijkhuizen sits on the supervisory board of the Dutch Broadcasting Corporation and food producer Struik. He is commissioner for soft drink producer Refresco and seed company Incotec. In addition, he has six official advisory roles. De Boer: 'When the issue of reappointment is raised, this is one of the first things that come up.'
The Supervisory Board has also asked Dijkhuizen to improve on a few other areas. The Boer: 'The employees' council had questioned the need for his international work, and some of them find that he lacks tact. That is primarily a matter of communication. The Supervisory Board is taking this matter seriously.'
Dijkhuizen says: 'My management style is indeed direct. I like to be explicit when it comes to what course of action to take and how. Apart from this, I also feel that we should be straightforward and clear to one another concerning matters important to the organization, and we should be able to speak our minds. Any discussion, however, should aim to improve, not to grumble about or undermine matters. Indeed, I cannot stand such behaviour. As far as communication is concerned, I don't have another approach rightaway. However, I will pay more attention to explaining why we do what we do. Because attention to this issue is never enough, as is the case now and before.' Outside the Netherlands, Dijkhuizen has developed regular joint efforts. 'These help our researchers to be part of international networks and projects. Recent examples are INRA in France, Embrapa in Brazil and INIA in Chile. There was much preparatory work and repeated visits. In addition, I am a personal advisor to the governor of the Chinese province of Fujian. That has led to various paid research assignments.'