Annual Report 2018

Supervisory Board Report

David Brandstätter, chairman of the supervisory board

70 years ago, on September 1, 1949, the German Press Agency’s first report from went on the wire. "The new agency will be characterized by the maintenance of objectivity and independence from any state, party-political or economic interest group," the then Chairman of the Supervisory Board, Anton Betz, told the German media. Even now, as we celebrate the company's 70th anniversary, this sentence is still the essential guideline for our actions. Only four years after the propaganda apparatus of the National Socialists had come to an end, the dpa opened a new journalistic chapter in Germany: a private, independent news agency owned by the publishers. 

All those involved in this success story – first and foremost the employees of dpa – have ensured for seven decades now that our country’s editorial offices are supplied with news quickly, reliably and truthfully. The entire supervisory board expresses its gratitude and respect for this achievement. However, the Supervisory Board is also aware that the trust and excellent reputation that dpa enjoys have to be earned anew every day.

In the past year, our industry has had the painful experience of seeing this appreciation and trust being squandered to a large extent. In a world in which the free and independent media have to defend themselves more than ever against outside influences and attacks, deceiving the reader poses a particular danger, both morally and economically. The entire industry is faced with the task of regaining lost trust. This will be a long and difficult path. As an independent and reliable news agency for the German media, dpa plays an important role in this. Its seriousness, credibility and transparency can provide valuable guidance. 

The German Press Agency once again closed the 2018 financial year with a positive result. At 93.0 million euros, turnover was slightly below the level of the previous year (2017: 93.6 million euros). Against the background of further declining print runs and disruptive changes due to digitalization, it is an excellent sign that dpa is operating successfully year after year. 

The 69th dpa shareholders' meeting that took place in Hamburg on 19 June 2018 was very well attended. Once again, almost 80% of the share capital was represented. The tenures of supervisory board members Thomas Düffert (Hanover), Dr. Laurent Fischer (Bayreuth) and Thorsten Rossmann (Berlin) were extended. In addition, Hans-Georg Schnücker (Mainz), who was previously co-opted, was elected to the dpa supervisory board for the first time. Dr. Karl Hans Arnold (Düsseldorf) left the supervisory board. Johannes Werle took his place. The membership of the former secretary Dr. Holger Paesler (Ulm) also expired. Birgit Wentzien (Cologne) and Gerda Meuer (Bonn) joined the supervisory board in November 2018.

David Brandstätter (Würzburg) continues as chairman of the supervisory board of the German Press Agency. The supervisory board continues to include Dr. Laurent Fischer (Bayreuth) and Valdo Lehari Jr. (Reutlingen) as deputy chairmen. 

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 the 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. There were no objections. The supervisory board agrees with the statements contained therein. The supervisory board concurs with the executive board's proposal for the resolution about the year 2018.

For 70 years, the three letters dpa have stood for news journalism with the highest quality standards and for a company that has always successfully understood technological change as an opportunity. But dpa also stands for the people who are passionately committed to new ideas and innovative products. The supervisory board is convinced that the dpa management team led by Peter Kropsch and the editorial board led by Sven Gösmann will continue the success story of Germany's number one news agency.

On behalf of the supervisory board,
David Brandstätter
Hamburg, May 2019