Structural changes to the GfK Association
The GfK Association strengthens its Executive Board
Nuremberg, January 27, 2009 – The GfK Association, which celebrates its 75th anniversary this year, resolved in an extraordinary General Assembly to renew and strengthen its structure and personnel. A total of 121 members unanimously elected a new Chairman and Vice-Chairman. Resolutions were also passed on amendments to the Articles of Association.
Peter Zühlsdorff has been elected as the new Chairman of the GfK Association. He already held the post previously from 1992 to 2005, and was subsequently Honorary Chairman until 2008. Professor Hubert Weiler will give additional strength to the Executive Board in his role as Vice- Chairman. The former Chairman of the Board of Sparkasse Nuremberg is a financial expert with excellent contacts in the Nuremberg metropolitan region. Dr. Raimund Wildner, Managing Director of the GfK Association, and Professor Dr. Hermann Diller, holder of a Chair in Marketing at the Friedrich Alexander University of Erlangen-Nuremberg, are also Vice-Chairs. An additional Vice-Chair will be elected at the ordinary General Assembly of the GfK Association in June 2009.
More stringent checks within the executive bodies
The new Articles of Association strengthen checks and balances within the Association’s corporate governance. The GfK Association will in future be represented externally by two of the eventual five members of the Executive Board. With regard to the role of the GfK Association as the majority shareholder of GfK AG, the Executive Board will be supported by a new Members’ Council, to which mayor Dr. Ulrich Maly has been elected as the representative of the city of Nuremberg, alongside other experienced entrepreneurs. In future, the Members’ Council must approve all measures that could result in a decrease in the GfK Association’s stake in GfK AG. In order to rule out possible future conflicts of interest between the GfK Association and GfK AG, there is generally a separation between the executive bodies of the GfK Association and GfK AG in terms of personnel. One result of this is that Dr. Raimund Wildner will give up managing GfK Methoden- und Produktentwicklung (method and product development), and will in future be responsible solely for the interests of the Association.
With these changes, the GfK Association is signaling to the capital market, clients and the employees of the GfK Group that it is stable, reliable and competent to make decisions in its capacity as main shareholder of GfK AG. The Association has a vital interest in maintaining and increasing the value of GfK AG in the long term, and wants to permanently protect it from a hostile takeover.
The GfK Association
The GfK Association was established in 1934 to promote market research. Its membership consists of approximately 600 companies and individuals. The purpose of the GfK Association is to carry out basic research, to promote the training and further education of market researchers and to regularly produce studies in Germany and Europe, which are made available to the membership. With a 58% stake, the GfK Association is the majority shareholder of GfK Aktiengesellschaft.
The GfK Group
The GfK Group is the No. 4 market research organization worldwide. Its activities cover the three business sectors of Custom Research, Retail and Technology and Media. The Group has 115 companies operating in more than 100 countries. Of a total of approximately 10,000 employees (as at September 30, 2008), more than 80% are based outside Germany. For further information, visit our website: www.gfk.com
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