Supervisory Board Report
David Brandstätter, Chairman of the Supervisory Board
Dear ladies and gentlemen,
In the year of its 70th anniversary, the German Press Agency has once again shown itself to be a forward-looking organisation, with the will to change and innovate as integral parts of its self-image. For example, the dpa management team led by Peter Kropsch and editor-in-chief Sven Gösmann, has spent many months and invested much energy in working out a proposal for a new pricing model. I expressly welcome the fact that we on the supervisory board were able to clear the way for this reform after detailed and very intensive discussions. The board is firmly convinced that the new pricing basis will serve to secure the future of the agency and at the same time meet our high standard of treating all clients equally. The model is timely, transparent and easy to use.
But even beyond this trend-setting initiative, dpa has continued to make great strides. These include gaining access to new customer groups and sources of revenue in a tightening market. The times when dpa was mainly seen as a basic information-provider are long gone.
With its fact-checking activities, dpa has now entered a new business field which makes a noticeable contribution to its economic success and also fulfils an important journalistic and social mission. In my opinion, it is not a contradiction, but rather an expression of the digital markets that we strongly defend our interests with regard to the major platforms on the one hand, but also work together with them on projects.
The German Press Agency closed the 2019 financial year with a positive result and a profit of 1.3 million euros. At 92.9 million euros, revenues are almost at the same level as the previous year (2018: 93.0 million euros). Across the group, we witnessed a growth in revenues of 2.7 million euros to 142.5 million euros (previous year: 139.8 million euros). Against the background of further declining print runs and disruptive changes in the media and digital market, it is a remarkable success that dpa, as an independent news agency organized entirely in the private sector, is able to present positive results year after year.
The 70th dpa shareholders’ meeting took place on July 1, 2019, following the agency’s 70th anniversary celebrations in Berlin. The supervisory board much appreciates the gesture of Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier in attending the ceremony. In his speech he underlined the importance of dpa to society as a whole and acknowledged its contribution to the success of democracy in Germany.
A total of 73.21 percent of dpa’s share capital was represented in Berlin. David Brandstätter remains chairman of the supervisory board of the German Press Agency. The board once again confirmed the managing director of Main-Post newspaper in Würzburg in his function. David Brandstätter has been a member of the dpa supervisory board since 2003. He has been its chairman since 2014.
The terms of office of the supervisory board members Valdo Lehari jr. (Reutlinger General-Anzeiger Verlag), Dr. Peter Frey (ZDF) and Joachim Knuth (NDR) were extended by the shareholders’ meeting. In addition, the previously co-opted member Holger Martens (RHEINPFALZ Verlag und Druckerei) was newly elected to the supervisory board. The new secretary of the supervisory board is Gerda Meuer (Deutsche Welle).
The management and chief editors kept the dpa Supervisory Board regularly and comprehensively informed. The board closely followed the agency’s business development. The management reports of dpa GmbH and the companies of the group were examined in detail by the supervisory board. The audit report of the auditor appointed by the shareholders’ meeting was discussed in detail. No objections were raised. The supervisory board agrees with the statements contained therein. The supervisory board concurs with the executive board’s proposal for the resolution for the year 2019.
dpa stands for news journalism of the utmost integrity and for a company which actively embraces change. The supervisory board is convinced that the dpa management team led by Peter Kropsch, Matthias Mahn and Andreas Schmidt and the editors-in-chief, Sven Gösmann, Antje Homburger, Niddal Salah-Eldin and Jutta Steinhoff, will continue the success story of Germany’s number one news agency.
On behalf of the supervisory board,
Hamburg, May 2020