What is a General Meeting?
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.
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:
- 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.
- 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:
- 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.
- Presentation of reports: the directors present the company’s financial results, achievements and plans, as well as the auditors’ reports, if any.
- Questions and debates: associates may ask questions, seek clarification or express their point of view on issues raised.
- 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.
- Closing the meeting: the Chairman announces the results of the votes and closes the meeting.
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.