Qatar to nominate former IT minister to VW board-source

HAMBURG/BERLIN, May 10 Volkswagen investor Qatar will nominate former IT minister Hessa Al-Jaber to represent the emirate on VW’s supervisory board, a person familiar with the matter said, allowing the carmaker to fulfil legal quotas for women ahead of a key shareholder meeting.

The appointment of Chairman Hans Dieter Poetsch to the helm of Volkswagen’s (VW) supervisory board last October needs shareholder approval, which is dependent on VW assigning 30 percent of the board’s 20 seats to women.

Germany, where there is not a single female chief executive among the 30 largest firms on the blue-chip DAX index, introduced quotas in January requiring major companies to boost female representation on non-executive boards which in Europe’s largest economy are predominantly male.

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Al-Jaber is a former minister of information and communications technology and the third Qatari woman to assume a ministerial position in Qatar, the source said.

Another source close to VW’s supervisory board said Qatar would nominate a female candidate and she would most likely replace Minister of State Hussain Ali Al-Abdulla, a VW board member of the Qatar Investment Authority (QIA). The source did not name the woman.

QIA, Volkswagen and Lower Saxony, VW’s second-biggest shareholder, declined to comment.

At VW, the shareholder representatives, who share equal representation on the carmaker’s 20-member supervisory board with labour officials, currently allot two seats to women.

Qatar, VW’s third-largest shareholder with a 17 percent stake, has two seats on the broader board. Frustrated with the pace of reform at VW, the QIA has also asked the carmaker for a seat on the board’s executive committee which sets the agenda for the wider board.

It was unclear whether a meeting of the supervisory board on Tuesday, which a third source said was meant to discuss the nomination of a female Qatari candidate and the agenda for VW’s annual shareholder meeting (AGM) on June 22, took any decisions.

“Nothing has been decided so far,” a VW spokesman said, without elaborating.