What is a General Meeting?

Sundance pleniere

The General Meeting: roles, types and organization

The Annu­al Gen­er­al Meet­ing is an essen­tial meet­ing in the life of a com­pany, involving part­ners and dir­ect­ors. In this art­icle, the team at the Pal­ais des Con­grès de Deau­ville (where many gen­er­al meet­ings are held in Nor­mandy) will look at the dif­fer­ent aspects of this decision-mak­ing body, its char­ac­ter­ist­ics, how it works and tips for organ­iz­ing a suc­cess­ful gen­er­al meeting.

What is a general meeting?

A gen­er­al meet­ing is a meet­ing between the share­hold­ers of a com­pany and its man­age­ment. It is a decision-mak­ing body that enables asso­ci­ates to take import­ant decisions con­cern­ing the man­age­ment and devel­op­ment of the com­pany. At these pro­fes­sion­al meet­ings, man­age­ment presents the com­pany’s res­ults, cur­rent pro­jects and future pro­spects, while asso­ci­ates are invited to ask ques­tions, make sug­ges­tions and vote on the vari­ous res­ol­u­tions put forward.

What is the role of a General Meeting?

The main role of a Gen­er­al Meet­ing is to enable asso­ci­ates to obtain inform­a­tion on the com­pany’s situ­ation, and to exer­cise their power of con­trol and decision-mak­ing on the com­pany’s stra­tegic and fin­an­cial ori­ent­a­tions. The main tasks of a Gen­er­al Meet­ing include :

  • Approv­al of the annu­al fin­an­cial state­ments: asso­ci­ates val­id­ate the fin­an­cial res­ults for the past year, and give their approv­al to the man­age­ment of the company.
  • Appro­pri­ation of profits: asso­ci­ates decide on the use of profits, not­ably in terms of dividends paid out or the set­ting aside of reserves to fin­ance future investments.
  • Appoint­ment or reappoint­ment of man­agers: depend­ing on the leg­al form of the com­pany, the asso­ci­ates elect or re-elect the mem­bers of the Board of Dir­ect­ors, the Man­age­ment Board or the Exec­ut­ive Board.
  • Stra­tegic decision-mak­ing: asso­ci­ates are con­sul­ted on major cor­por­ate pro­jects, such as mer­gers, acquis­i­tions, asset dis­pos­als, amend­ments to the art­icles of asso­ci­ation or cap­it­al increases.
Hall 2 du C.I.D Deau­ville ©L.Lebailly
Salle de com­mis­sion du CID Deau­ville © BabXIII 

General Meeting procedure

The way in which a Gen­er­al Meet­ing oper­ates depends mainly on the leg­al form of the com­pany (SARL, SAS, SA, etc.) and its Art­icles of Asso­ci­ation. How­ever, cer­tain gen­er­al rules apply to all companies.

Notice of meeting and agenda

Share­hold­ers must be con­vened to the Annu­al Gen­er­al Meet­ing by the com­pany’s man­age­ment, usu­ally by registered let­ter with acknow­ledge­ment of receipt or by e‑mail, at least 15 days before the date of the meet­ing. The notice must spe­cify the agenda, i.e. the items to be dis­cussed and the res­ol­u­tions to be put to the vote.

Quorum and majority

For decisions taken at the Annu­al Gen­er­al Meet­ing to be val­id, a cer­tain quor­um must be reached, i.e. a min­im­um num­ber of asso­ci­ates present or rep­res­en­ted by proxy. This quor­um depends on the com­pany’s bylaws and applic­able leg­al rules. Sim­il­arly, res­ol­u­tions are passed by a major­ity of votes cast, accord­ing to thresholds set by the com­pany’s bylaws or by law.

Ordinary and extraordinary general meetings

There are two main types of gen­er­al meeting:

  1. The Ordin­ary Gen­er­al Meet­ing (OGM): held at least once a year to approve the annu­al fin­an­cial state­ments, appoint officers and make day-to-day com­pany decisions.
  2. The Extraordin­ary Gen­er­al Meet­ing (EGM): con­vened to deal with excep­tion­al or urgent mat­ters, such as amend­ments to the art­icles of asso­ci­ation, cap­it­al increases or restruc­tur­ing operations.

Holding a general meeting

A gen­er­al meet­ing gen­er­ally fol­lows the fol­low­ing procedure:

  1. Open­ing of the meet­ing: the chair­man of the meet­ing, often the com­pany dir­ect­or or a des­ig­nated part­ner, opens the meet­ing and checks that a quor­um is present.
  2. Present­a­tion of reports: the dir­ect­ors present the com­pany’s fin­an­cial res­ults, achieve­ments and plans, as well as the aud­it­ors’ reports, if any.
  3. Ques­tions and debates: asso­ci­ates may ask ques­tions, seek cla­ri­fic­a­tion or express their point of view on issues raised.
  4. Vot­ing on res­ol­u­tions: asso­ci­ates vote on the pro­pos­als presen­ted on the agenda, accord­ing to the num­ber of votes alloc­ated to them by the Art­icles of Asso­ci­ation or by law.
  5. Clos­ing the meet­ing: the Chair­man announces the res­ults of the votes and closes the meeting.
Sund­ance pleniere 

How to organize a general meeting?

Here are a few tips to help you organ­ize a suc­cess­ful Annu­al Gen­er­al Meeting:

  • Plan ahead: allow suf­fi­cient time to pre­pare the neces­sary doc­u­ments, send out invit­a­tions and coordin­ate with the parties involved (man­age­ment, chartered account­ants, stat­utory auditors).
  • Choose a suit­able ven­ue: choose a space that is eas­ily access­ible for asso­ci­ates, with suf­fi­cient seat­ing capa­city and appro­pri­ate equip­ment (video pro­ject­or, micro­phones, Wi-Fi).
  • Care­ful present­a­tion: pre­pare clear, attract­ive visu­al aids to facil­it­ate under­stand­ing of fin­an­cial data and stra­tegic issues.
  • Encour­age par­ti­cip­a­tion: encour­age exchanges between asso­ci­ates and man­agers, estab­lish a cli­mate of trust and listen­ing, and pro­pose remote vot­ing or proxy solu­tions for absent associates.

Organize a general meeting at the Palais des Congrès CID Deauville

To organ­ize your gen­er­al meet­ing in a pres­ti­gi­ous and func­tion­al set­ting, the Pal­ais des Con­grès CID Deau­ville offers a num­ber of mod­u­lar rooms, cus­tom­ized ser­vices and mod­ern infrastructures.

Loc­ated in the heart of the town and close to hotels, res­taur­ants and trans­port, the CID Deau­ville Con­ven­tion Cen­ter offers an ideal envir­on­ment for bring­ing your asso­ci­ates togeth­er and mak­ing a suc­cess of your busi­ness event in Nor­mandy, just 2 hours from Paris.

lex­ing­ton — ©gisaac
Salle gatsby class ebabxiii 
Audi­to­rium Michel d’Ornano ©J.Basile

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