Behind the scenes of thyssenkrupp’s Annual General Meeting

Company | People at thyssenkrupp | Every year, thyssenkrupp's stockholders come together at the company's Annual General Meeting. The big event is planned down to the last detail for months. A look behind the scenes.

It is by far the Group’s largest event: once a year, the Executive Board, more than 2,000 shareholders and numerous press representatives come together for the Annual General Meeting in Bochum’s “RuhrCongress”. This year, on February 1, thyssenkrupp stockholders will be able to obtain information on the company’s business performance in the past fiscal year, ask questions and exercise their voting rights. But how do you actually organize an event with so many participants?

In the background, the thyssenkrupp team spent months working on the perfect annual general meeting – and, of course, on the day of the event itself.
In the background, the thyssenkrupp team spent months working on the perfect annual general meeting – and, of course, on the day of the event itself.

Starting signal? August!

If you take a look behind the scenes, it quickly becomes clear that the Annual General Meeting is a major project lasting several months. So there’s no time to lose. Therefore, the organization of the event starts already in summer. The employees from Investor Relations, Legal, and the Communications departments start to prepare the event down to the last detail: What is the exact procedure of the Annual General Meeting? Which colleague takes over which task? Which technology is necessary? And how do we design invitations to shareholders and press representatives? External service providers for stage technology, catering and many other tasks are also involved – around 200 experts in total. The result is a great choreography in which nothing can go wrong despite all the complexity.

November: It’s time to getting down to business

In addition to the classic presentation of business figures, the event also offers shareholders a very exclusive opportunity: they can address their questions and comments directly to the Group Management Board. In order for our Management to be able to answer competently, to the point, and as quickly as possible, the organization team gathers all the necessary information in advanced. It goes without saying that many specialist colleagues from the various divisions of the Group come into play for this purpose. Experts call this collection of questions and answers the “Q&A”. Creating this document is one of the most important to dos of the organizers.

January: on the last meters

It takes eight days to set up the seating, stage, screen and many other things in the Bochum event hall that is right next to the halls of the famous “Starlight Express”. No wonder, as almost 3,000 chairs first have to find their place in the hall.

The biggest challenge, however, is the construction of the video screen: at 34 meters, it is half the width of a football field. All components for the framework are assembled according to the Lego principle. After that, the stage technicians then stretch the screen fabric over the scaffolding and test whether all presentations and films can run smoothly. At the same time, the Communications team is rehearsing the course of the event together with the Executive Board at the Essen headquarters. Nothing should be left to chance.

A big day and an early morning: After half a year of organization, 3,000 chairs are now ready for the arrival of the shareholders in the large hall of the RuhrCongress – because there is a duty: Each individual shareholder of thyssenkrupp must be given their own place upon appearance.
A big day and an early morning: After half a year of organization, 3,000 chairs are now ready for the arrival of the shareholders in the large hall of the RuhrCongress – because there is a duty: Each individual shareholder of thyssenkrupp must be given their own place upon appearance.

1st of February: Doors open, here we go!

While the participants take a seat in the hall, the so-called “back office” prepares for its work. All the threads come together there, all the colleagues in front of and behind the stage work hand in hand. And here we go! In the immediate vicinity of the Executive Board, the extensive questions of the audience are recorded and forwarded to the 80 experts behind the stage. Then it must go fast: The back office searches out the appropriate answers from the prepared Q&A and passes them on to the Executive Board. If necessary, the team researches further information.

In the auditorium itself, no one can see anything of the team's work in the literal back office (the picture only shows the team's
In the auditorium itself, no one can see anything of the team's work in the literal back office (the picture only shows the team's "front-runners"). However, the research work of the colleagues is absolutely vital to ensure that the board is able to answer even the most specific questions correctly and promptly.

In the meantime, the catering team prepares around 1,000 liters of coffee and supplies the participants with around 4,000 croissants. A live broadcast ensures that shareholders and press representatives who are not present – and thyssenkrupp employees in Germany and abroad – can also follow the event.

By the way: This year, our colleagues Tim and Thies will accompany the Annual General Meeting for you right in the middle of the action. On our Instagram and Facebook channels, you can accompany them via the story function and get an exclusive insight into the “backstage” processes. Of course, you can follow the event on the livestream: The transmission will start on 1 February 2019 at 10 a.m.! You can find the link here.

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