As of Monday, Ajax has a new Supervisory Board. At the Special Shareholders General Meeting in the ArenA, the five board members were approved. To the disappointment of many present, board member Johan Cruijff was not in attendance in the ArenA. But the best Ajax player in history will also join the new Supervisory Board.
Exactly 42 days after the Members Council agreed with the proposal, Ajax NV’s shareholders gave their approval. Steven ten Have (chairman), Paul Römer, Marjan Olfers, Edgar Davids and Johan Cruijff were promoted from candidate to fully empowered board members. Questions were allowed in the hour before the last round of voting. The departing Supervisory Board, under the leadership of Uri Coronel, kept the
shareholders meeting on the right track. “We will not discuss current issues or policy. There’s one point on the agenda: appointing the new Supervisory Board.” Coronel thus opened the meeting with unambiguous instructions.
It was soon clear that recent events have taken an emotional toll on the Ajax members. Many questions were asked, and answered, taking the position that Ajax must never go through another such period again. The old Supervisory Board stepping down (seats became available) and the new board being apointed will hopefully lead Ajax onto a fresh new path. “ The club needs to move on” , continued Coronel. “Unfortunately not with us, but it will happen with the new Board. The club is greater than the individual.”
A total of 16.834.982 Ajax shares were represented in the Panorama Lounge by the present shareholders. As the principal shareholder, the AFC Ajax association represented the 13.388.333 shares owned by the club. Hein Blocks represented the association. He presented a number of points that the new members must fulfil. The Supervisory Board must be diverse, and the members must complement each other in terms of skills. There must be sufficient room and trust to have debates. Finally, qualities such as decisiveness and presenting a united front about these decisions, are essential attributes for a strong Supervisory Board.
This was, in part, the reason for some members’ disappointment at nominee Cruijff’s absence. The present share holders would have liked to see the new Supervisory Board set off on its new course with all of its members present. “Johan Cruijff understands fully what is required to be a board member”, said Ten Have trusfully, clearly believing in Cruijff’s contributions and awareness of his responsibilities as a board member. Questions came about the Ajax member’s column in De Telegraaf. This may continue, as long as the topics do not damage Ajax’s club interests. “Everything threatens the club’s reputation must be opposed” , continued Ten Have. “ Ajax’s reputation comes first. When it comes to the club’s integrity and reputation, discretion is necessary with any information.”
In addition to Cruijff, former player Davids will represent top football knowledge in the new Supervisory Board. Davids was in attendance in the ArenA. Ten Have: “ He will also look at issues from another perspective. That can be refreshing. It’s true that all members are dealing with a listed business enterprise.”
Ten Have was also asked about the new structure that will likely be implemented at Ajax. Instead of directors and a supervisory board, Ajax NV will likely get a board. In this construction, the board consists of executionary and non executionary members. “The collaboration between the NV and association is therefore more intensive” , explains Ten Have. “Together, a strategy and policy will be formed.” On of the new Supervisory Board’s first tasks will be to create a new general management team. The search for a new general manager has the highest priority.