Annual Report 2017

Supervisory board report

David Brandstätter, Chairman of the Supervisory Board

As media professionals these days we find ourselves in a kind of permanent state of emergency. The year 2017 did little to diminish this impression. In particular the lengthy imprisonment of Die WELT journalist Deniz Yücel made the public discussion about the role the media in a free society even more intense. The same is true of US President Donald Trump, who with his repeated attacks on the press – usually spread for all the world to see on Twitter – is new defining the relationship between the media and those in government. We have once again experienced a year in which the free and independent media has had to deal with the deliberate spread of false information and populist criticism. 

In this climate of uncertainty a globally active news agency like dpa is faced with the central task of achieving orientation. Day after day customers from newspapers, magazines, TV and radio stations and online providers trust in the dpa editorial team’s independent and reliable reporting – from Germany, Europe and the world. Despite the various challenges, in 2017 the German Press Agency once again succeeded in generating a positive annual result and expanding its role as Germany’s leading news agency. It is an encouraging sign that for the seventh year in a row dpa is seeing a profit. The turnover of 93.6 million euros has remained almost constant compared to the previous year (2016: 94 million euros). The supervisory board regards this as a strong signal that dpa actively shapes and continually pushes forward the process of change that digital transformation has made necessary. The company management and the editorial board are working hand and hand and are engaged in numerous projects with the aim of ensuring that dpa continues to better adapt to the rapidly changing media market.

At the start of 2017, Peter Kropsch took over as dpa’s President & CEO from Michael Segbers, who retired after working at dpa for more than four decades. The switch to the CEO position has worked wonderfully. And this came at the same time as the implementation of strategically important projects such as the development of a new international picture network. The change at the top of dpa when it was moving at full speed had no discernable negative impact on performance. The supervisory board would like to express its respect and gratitude for this.

The 68th dpa general annual meeting took place on June 20, 2017 in Hamburg and was once again well attended. Almost 80 percent of the share capital was represented. The terms of office of supervisory board members Dr. Karl Hans Arnold (Dusseldorf), Hans-Dieter Hillmoth (Bad Vilbel), Dr. Stephan Kolschen (Wilhelmshaven) and Daniel Schöningh (Munich) were extended. The supervisory board continues to include Dr. Laurent Fischer (Bayreuth) and Valdo Lehari Jr. (Reutlingen) as Deputy Chairmen and Dr. Holger Paesler (Ulm) as Secretary.

The supervisory board was kept regularly and comprehensively informed by the dpa management and the dpa editorial board and closely followed the agency’s business development. The management reports of dpa GmbH and of the companies within the corporate group were examined in detail by the supervisory board. The board agrees with the statements made therein. The audit report complied by the auditor appointed by the shareholders' meeting was discussed in detail. There were no complaints. The supervisory board accepts the management’s proposal for the resolution about the year 2017.

The dpa is on the right path to finding a sustainable, permanent place in a new and changed media world. Creative drive, customer focus and openness to the digital transformation both in the management of Peter Kropsch, Matthias Mahn and Andreas Schmidt, and under the editorship of Sven Gösmann has led to great optimism on the supervisory board about a successful future for dpa.

On behalf of the supervisory board
David Brandstätter
Hamburg, May 2018