Digitalbox PLC is committed to good corporate governance and has adopted the corporate governance guidelines of the Quoted Companies Alliance (QCA).
This page outlines the ways in which the Company applies the QCA’s ten principles corporate governance.
Digitalbox aims to become a leading publisher of digital media. The Group intends to achieve this through a buy-and-build strategy with a focus on profitable publishing on mobile devices. This strategy is aligned with consumer behaviour and commercial trends.
The Group will create and deliver compelling content for its audiences via the web properties it owns now and will own in the future. This content will engage audiences and in turn create valuable environments for advertisers to reach them.
The Group intends to deliver long-term value for shareholders through its understanding of consumer media consumption, the arising revenue opportunities including advertising and a continued focus on the operating profitability of its brands.
The Group is committed to building and maintaining strong relationships with its shareholders and considers the understanding of shareholder’s needs fundamental to its success.
The Chief Executive Officer and Chief Financial Officer/Company Secretary are active in meeting with and preparing presentations for institutional investors and engage in regular dialogue with the Group’s brokers in order to gauge shareholder sentiment.
The Group’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) is the main forum for discussing matters with shareholders, addressing shareholder queries and understanding their needs and expectations. Notice of the AGM and proposed resolutions are sent to shareholders at least 21 days prior to the AGM. Shareholders and their representatives are invited to fully participate and vote in the AGM and are also given the opportunity to vote by proxy. Voting results are published after the AGM.
Outside the AGM will Group convene general meetings where shareholder approval is required or appropriate on Group matters and may seek input from major institutional investors from time to time in relation to Group policy.
The Group seeks to engage with its wider group of stakeholders via:
Face-to-face briefings for staff to update on the Group’s progress and developments
Email updates for staff regarding developments
Releasing public updates via the RNS service
Stakeholder feedback being passed to Senior Management via the relevant team member at Digitalbox as appropriate.
The Board considers the risks facing the business on an ongoing basis and ensures mitigation strategies are in place wherever possible. The Executive Directors regularly keep the Board updated on current trading, wider market trends and other developments as a means of identifying existing and potential future opportunities and risks.
Key risks and uncertainties facing the business are highlighted on page 16 of the Annual Report.
The Board comprises three Executive Directors and three Non-Executive Directors. The Board considers all three Non-Executive Directors to be independent.
The Board will operate in a collaborative and constructive manner with a clear focus on the delivery of the strategy and increasing shareholder value.
The appointment of Directors will be in accordance with the Articles of Association.
The Board met eight times in 2020.
Details of the Board members and their roles can be found here.
The Group considers the skills and experience of the Board to be appropriate and this is kept under review.
The Executive Directors have each worked in consumer media for more than twenty years, and as a group have experience at senior management level in respected PLC media businesses. Their specific media expertise includes editorial management, new product development, commercial management, strategic planning, international expansion, financial management, corporate restructuring, digital transition, brand development, acquisitions and disposals.
The Group’s non-executive Directors have extensive successful track records in the fields of technology, telecoms, publishing, investment banking and television.
The Board’s process of evaluating its own performance, that of its Committees and the individual Directors, is led by the Chairman. The process is conducted by the Remuneration Committee. The Remuneration Committee will evaluate Board performance against targets.
Targets are aligned with the delivery of the Group’s strategy.
The Board may utilise the results of the evaluation process when considering the adequacy of the composition of the Board and for succession planning.
The Group aims to operate ethically and be socially responsible in its actions. Below are a number of the approaches through which this is achieved.
Business Conduct, Ethics and Anti-Corruption
The Group is committed to ensuring high standards of business conduct and has adopted policies in support of this including an Anti-Bribery & Anti-Corruption policy and an Equal Opportunities & Anti-Harassment policy.
Safeguarding Consumers’ Data
The Group is committed to safeguarding its consumers’ data and only use this information where express permission is granted and solely for the purpose specified. The Group holds registrations with the ICO and follows its guidelines to ensure it remains fully compliant with GDPR.
Relationship with Employees
The Group encourages an environment of openness and debate and welcomes all feedback from within.
Details of the Group’s performance are shared with all employees at appropriate times via face-to-face meetings where safe to do so, virtual meetings, email updates and the Group’s corporate website.
The Group expects a high standard from its staff and provides support to achieve this. Where possible, as new roles in the organisation arise, the Group aims to promote from within.
The Group is committed to fostering new talent and runs a successful apprenticeship programme, often hiring candidates into full-time roles on completion of their apprenticeship.
The Group offers flexible working arrangements for its staff including remote working and part-time contracts.
All staff and their immediate families benefit from access to a free Wellbeing programme including fitness, medical and mental health advice.
The roles of the Chairman and the Chief Executive Officer are separated and clearly defined. The Chairman provides impartial leadership and guidance to the Board. Working with the Executive Directors, the Chairman is responsible for setting the agenda for Board meetings and ensuring Board members receive the information they need to properly participate in a timely fashion.
The Chief Executive Officer is responsible for the execution of Group strategy approved by the Board, the leadership of the Group’s senior management team and its employees on a day to day basis.
The Chief Operating Officer supports the Chief Executive in the delivery of the strategy with a specific remit over editorial matters.
The Board has established four committees with clearly defined responsibilities. These are as follows:
The Audit Committee’s principal functions include ensuring that the appropriate accounting systems and financial controls are in place, monitoring the integrity of the financial statements of the Group, reviewing the effectiveness of the Group’s accounting and internal control systems, reviewing reports from the Group’s auditors relating to the Group’s accounting and internal controls, and reviewing the interim and annual results and reports to Shareholders, in all cases having due regard to the interests of Shareholders. The Audit Committee will meet as necessary, informed by the reporting and audit cycle or other requirements. Phil Machray chairs the Audit Committee. Committee members are Marcus Rich and Martin Higginson.
The Remuneration Committee is responsible for determining and agreeing with the Board the framework for the remuneration packages for each of the Executive Directors. The Remuneration Committee considers all aspects of the Executive Directors’ remuneration, including pensions, bonus arrangements, benefits, incentive payments and share option awards, and the policy for, and scope of any termination payments. The remuneration of the Non-Executive Directors is a matter for the Board. The Remuneration Committee will meet when necessary and generates an annual remuneration report to be approved by the members of the Company at the annual general meeting. No Director may determine their own remuneration. Marcus Rich chairs the Remuneration Committee. Committee members are Phil Machray and Martin Higginson.
The Nomination Committee is responsible for reviewing the structure, size and composition of the Board based upon the skills, knowledge and experience required to ensure the Board operates effectively. The Nomination Committee meets when necessary to do so. The Nomination Committee also identifies and nominates suitable candidates to join the Board when vacancies arise and makes recommendations to the Board for the re-appointment of any Non-Executive Directors. Marcus Rich chairs the Nomination Committee. Committee members are Phil Machray and Martin Higginson.
The Disclosure Committee is responsible for ensuring compliance with the AIM rules and MAR concerning disclosure of inside information and works closely with the Board to ensure that the Group’s nominated adviser is provided with any information it reasonably requests or requires in order for it to carry out its responsibilities under the AIM Rules and the Aim Rules for Nominated Advisers. The Disclosure Committee approves all RNS and other significant announcements, normally via email and will meet as required. Marcus Rich chairs the Disclosure Committee. Committee members are Phil Machray and Martin Higginson.
The Group communicates with shareholders and other stakeholders through its Annual and Interim Reports, regulatory and non-regulatory announcements, its investor relations website, Annual General Meetings and face-to-face meetings.