This was yet another year in which COVID-19 played a major role. However, there was an important difference. In 2020, the Supervisory Board was closely involved with operations. Continuity was at stake; we were actively involved in thinking about issues such as the cash flow at companies. In the past reporting year 2021, we were able to focus again on our actual role: monitoring Vebego’s policy and strategy, supervising the financial state of affairs, and providing requested and unrequested advice.
This year we paid extra attention to the acquisition of hectas Facility Services. An exciting, large acquisition, in which we have been intensively concerned with whether this is the right step: does the acquisition contribute to Vebego’s mission and strategy? As with the Board of Directors, our answer to this was a resounding “yes”. In the further course of the acquisition process, we also considered as a Board whether the Vebego and hectas cultures fit together, and we also participated in the due diligence that preceded the final acquisition.
The Board is pleased with the result for 2021. The result is good, both despite and thanks to COVID. Due to COVID-19, there was more focus on hygiene, more work in home care, more work in the hospitals, more work in disinfecting buses, for example. At the same time, Vebego companies in other areas – such as cleaning at airports and on trains – had to constantly scale up and down because the demand among customers kept changing.
The Board is satisfied with the performance and functioning of the Board of Directors. Ton Goedmakers’ first year as CEO went smoothly. COVID and the hectas acquisition have not adversely affected the progress of Designing our Future. In 2021, important steps were taken in the basic design of several new companies and towards Vebego being able to organise work processes in a more unambiguous and efficient way. The step of giving two COOs responsibility for the operational management of the four core countries has been taken.
In general, in 2021 conditions for more connection between companies and countries were created. Vebego is radiating more and more unity and actively giving substance to the slogan “One family. One culture. One language. This is done in the process of working towards fewer legal entities, but also in the development of a new brand strategy and in increasing Vebego’s visibility. During the year under review, there were active efforts towards better representation of women at board level. Among other things, this has led to the appointment of Suzanne van Nieuwenhuijzen as Corporate Secretary. The process to search for a new female CFO and a female CHRO has been initiated.
As a Board, we try to use a quarter of our time to look back: is everything running in good order, what is written down on paper, what is going to come of it? For the rest of our time, we prefer to look ahead; the meetings and the agendas have been set up accordingly. An important part of our added value lies in providing advice over Vebego’s future. Vebego has embraced the United Nations’ SDG 8 (decent work and economic growth) and SDG 12 (responsible consumption and production) as a guideline in making an impact, for example. As a Board, we are actively involved in thinking about how Vebego can translate these development goals into usable KPIs: when have we as Vebego achieved what we want to achieve? We also provide advice on ways to further strengthen Vebego’s name as an attractive employer.
The Board met in person five times in 2021. In addition, the Supervisory Board had many telephone discussions with the Board of Directors about the acquisition of hectas. In the summer of 2021, the entire Supervisory Board visited Brouwers Groenaannemers in Tilburg, along with Vebego’s certificate holders. Vebego’s contribution to improving biodiversity was discussed during this visit, as well as the Tilburg Railpark project, where Brouwers Groenaannemers, as main contractor, provided a climate-robust environment with space for play, exercise, recreation and even camping.
As a Board, we conducted a self-assessment in 2021. In doing so, we looked at the effectiveness of our work and at the mutual cooperation, among other things. We will assess our own internal findings with an external party in 2022. There were no changes in the Board in 2021. We have decided not to supplement the Board for the time being.
We hereby present you with the 2021 Annual Report prepared by the Board of Directors. The 2021 financial statements have been audited by Deloitte Accountants B.V. and are accompanied by an unqualified audit statement from an independent auditor. The financial statements have been approved by our Supervisory Board. We can endorse the result appropriation proposal included in the financial statements. We recommend that the General Meeting adopts the 2021 financial statements.
Pamela Boumeester, Chair
Ton Goedmakers sr.
Loes van Rijsoort
Jan van Hoek
Voerendaal, 19 May 2022