Annual Report

Supervisory Board Report

David Brandstätter, Chairman of the Supervisory Board 

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The past year marked an unprecedented turning point. This is as true for dpa as it is for all of the country’s publishers, broadcasters, TV stations and digital publishers. The pandemic shook many houses to their foundations. Naturally, dpa was not left untouched. Almost all its employees switched to remote working within a very short time in March 2020. This was a major accomplishment. Media professionals were nevertheless able to rely on dpa at all times. The agency continued to report swiftly, comprehensively and, above all, reliably and day after day on corona, the event of the century in Germany and around the world.

And not only that, dpa was able to boost its output at a time when people’s need for information was greater than perhaps ever before. Editorial and technical departments along with many other branches of the company redoubled their efforts in the crisis to relieve pressure on clients and ensure coverage and an interrupted flow of news. The supervisory board wishes to thank the entire staff of the group for this impressive achievement.

The German Press Agency closed the financial year with a profit of 1.6 million euros. At 93.9 million euros, revenues are slightly above those of the previous year (2019: 92.9 million euros). Across the group, we witnessed growth in revenues of 1.4 million euros to 143.9 million euros (previous year: 142.5 million euros). With these figures, the group confirms its high standing in the media and communications industry and shows that there is an enormous need for independent and reliable information in times of crisis.

The dpa shareholders’ meeting was held in Hamburg on August 18, 2020 with strict corona safety regulations in force. Despite the special circumstances and after careful consideration of the arguments, the supervisory board and management board decided to hold a face-to-face event. Thanks to a detailed safety concept, everything went off smoothly. A total of 73.38 percent of dpa’s capital stock was represented in Hamburg. 

The board once again confirmed David Brandstätter (Main-Post, Würzburg), Dr Stephan Kolschen (Brune-Mettcker Druck- und Verlags-GmbH/Wilhelmshavener Zeitung, Wilhelmshaven) and Daniel Schöningh (Münchener Zeitungs-Verlag, München) in their board functions. The previously co-opted members Gerda Meuer (Deutsche Welle, Berlin, secretary of the supervisory board) and Johannes Werle (Rheinische Post Mediengruppe, Düsseldorf) were also elected to the board. 

Hans-Dieter Hillmoth (Radio/Tele FFH, Bad Vilbel), whose mandate had expired, continues to serve as a co-opted member of the board. Dr Torsten Rossmann (WeltN24, Berlin) has resigned his mandate. Christian Nienhaus (Axel Springer, Berlin) and Herbert Dachs (Stuttgarter Zeitung, Stuttgart) are new co-opted members.

In addition to Chairman David Brandstätter, the Executive Board of the dpa Supervisory Board also includes Dr Laurent Fischer (Nordbayerischer Kurier Zeitungsverlag, Bayreuth), Valdo Lehari jr. (Reutlinger General-Anzeiger Verlags-GmbH & Co. KG, Reutlingen) as Deputy Chairperson and Gerda Meuer (Deutsche Welle, Berlin) as Secretary.

The management and chief editors kept the dpa Supervisory Board regularly and comprehensively informed. The board closely followed the agency’s editorial and business activities. The management reports of dpa GmbH and the other group companies 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 statement therein. The supervisory board concurs with the executive board’s proposal for the resolution of the year 2020.

Relying on the great dedication of its staff, dpa will continue to ensure that editorial departments are provided with services of the highest quality for as long as the pandemic continues. Moreover, the supervisory board appreciates the major efforts towards forging ahead with the digital transformation of the agency even amid the crisis. Corona has greatly accelerated the timescale of this immense challenge which must be addressed regardless of how the pandemic continues or finally ends.

The supervisory board is convinced that the dpa management team of Peter Kropsch, Matthias Mahn and Andreas Schmidt, together with the editors-in-chief Sven Gösmann, Silke Brüggemeier, Antje Homburger and Jutta Steinhoff, will continue to successfully guide Germany’s number one news agency through arduous times and ensure its future viability. At the same time, the board wishes to thank Niddal Salah-Eldin for her admirable work as a member of the chief editorial team and it wishes her every success in her new position. A sincere thank you from the supervisory board goes to the entire management team, the works council committees and all employees of the extended dpa family.

On behalf of the supervisory board,

David Brandstätter 

Hamburg, April 2021