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The Board of Directors is responsible for the overall strategic direction, supervision and control of the Group. The Board has five standing committees, each with its own charter: the Governance and Nominations Committee, the Audit Committee, the Compensation Committee, the Conduct and Financial Crime Control Committee and the Risk Committee. In addition, the Board has two advisory committees, the Innovation and Technology Committee and the new Sustainability Advisory Committee launching in 2021.
The Board currently consists of 13 members. Board members are elected at the Annual General Meeting (AGM) by our shareholders individually for a period of one year and are eligible for re-election. Board members shall generally retire after having served on the Board for 12 years. The background, skills and experience of Board members are diverse and broad and include holding or having held top management positions at financial services and other companies in Switzerland and abroad, as well as leading positions in government, academia and international organizations. The Board is composed of individuals with wide-ranging professional expertise in key areas including finance and financial management, risk management, audit, innovation and technology, legal, compliance and regulatory affairs, advertising, marketing and media, and human resources and incentive structures. Further, Board members are well informed about environmental, social and governance topics as a result of their experience serving as non-executive directors and prior executive roles in listed companies with well-established corporate governance structures. Diversity of culture, experience and opinion are important aspects of Board composition, as well as gender diversity. While the ratio of female-to-male Board members may vary in any given year, the Board is committed to complying with the gender diversity guidelines in the new Swiss corporate law, which stipulate a representation of at least 30% of each gender on the board of directors of listed companies. The collective experience and expertise of our Board members as of the end of 2020 across those key areas considered particularly relevant for the Group is illustrated in the above chart.