Shareholders approved the nineteenth consecutive dividend increase per share since the creation of Novartis in 1996, with an increase of 4% to CHF 2.70 for 2015 compared to CHF 2.60 for 2014. Payment for the 2015 dividend will be made with effect from February 29, 2016.
Votes on Compensation for the Members of the Board of Directors and the Executive Committee
Shareholders approved in two separate binding votes the total maximum amount of compensation for the members of the Board of Directors covering the period from the 2016 AGM to the 2017 AGM and the total maximum amount of compensation in respect of 2017 for the members of the Executive Committee. Furthermore, shareholders endorsed in an advisory vote the 2015 Compensation Report.
Annual re-election and election of Members of the Board
A large majority of shareholders re-elected Dr. Joerg Reinhardt as Chairman of the Board of Directors and each member of the Board of Directors who stood for re-election for one year. Further, shareholders elected Ton Buechner and Elizabeth Doherty as new members of the Board of Directors. Dr. Verena Briner decided not to stand for re-election. The Board of Directors thanks her for her services and commitment to Novartis as a Director and member of the Board of Director's Risk Committee.
In addition, shareholders re-elected the following members of the Board of Directors to the Compensation Committee for one year: Srikant Datar, Ph.D., Ann Fudge, Enrico Vanni, Ph.D. and William T. Winters. The Committee will be chaired by Enrico Vanni and each member will serve until the end of the next Annual General Meeting.
Furthermore, in line with the Board of Director's recommendation, shareholders also approved the cancelation of 49,878,180 shares repurchased on the second trading line under the sixth share repurchase program in the financial year 2015 and to reduce the share capital accordingly by CHF 24,939,090, from CHF 1,338,496,500 to CHF 1,313,557,410.
Novartis provides innovative healthcare solutions that address the evolving needs of patients and societies. Headquartered in Basel, Switzerland, Novartis offers a diversified portfolio to best meet these needs: innovative medicines, eye care and cost-saving generic pharmaceuticals. Novartis is the only global company with leading positions in these areas. In 2015, the Group achieved net sales of USD 49.4 billion, while R&D throughout the Group amounted to approximately USD 8.9 billion (USD 8.7 billion excluding impairment and amortization charges). Novartis Group companies employ approximately 119,000 full-time-equivalent associates. Novartis products are available in more than 180 countries around the world.