We permit the publication of our auditors’ report, provided the report is published in full only and is accompanied by the full financial statements to which our auditors’ report relates, and is only published on an access-controlled page on your website, to enable users to verify that an auditors’ report by independent accountants has been commissioned by the directors and issued. Such permission to publish is given by us without accepting or assuming any responsibility or liability to any third party users save where we have agreed terms with them in writing.

Our consent is given on condition that before any third party accesses our auditors’ report via the webpage they first document their agreement to the following terms of access to our report via a click-through webpage with an 'I accept' button. The terms to be included on your website are as follows:

I accept and agree for and on behalf of myself and the Trust I represent (each a "recipient") that:

  1. PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP (“PwC”) accepts no liability (including liability for negligence) to each recipient in relation to PwC’s report. The report is provided to each recipient for information purposes only. If a recipient relies on PwC’s report, it does so entirely at its own risk;
  2. No recipient will bring a claim against PwC which relates to the access to the report by a recipient;
  3. Neither PwC’s report, nor information obtained from it, may be made available to anyone else without PwC’s prior written consent, except where required by law or regulation; and
  4. PwC’s report was prepared with Hermes Property Unit Trust's interests in mind. It was not prepared with any recipient's interests in mind or for its use. PwC’s report is not a substitute for any enquiries that a recipient should make. The financial statements are as at 25 March 2017, and thus PwC’s auditors’ report is based on historical information. Any projection of such information or PwC’s opinion thereon to future periods is subject to the risk that changes may occur after the reports are issued and the description of controls may no longer accurately portray the system of internal control. For these reasons, such projection of information to future periods would be inappropriate.
  5. PwC will be entitled to the benefit of and to enforce these terms.
I accept

1. Select your country

  • United Kingdom
  • Austria
  • Australia
  • Belgium
  • Denmark
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Iceland
  • Ireland
  • Italy
  • Luxembourg
  • Netherlands
  • Norway
  • Singapore
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • USA
  • Other

2. Select your investor type

  • Financial Advisor
  • Discretionary Investment Manager
  • Wealth Manager
  • Family Office
  • Institutional Investor
  • Investment Consultant
  • Charity, Foundation & Endowment Investor
  • Retail Investor
  • Press
  • None of the above

3. Accept our terms and conditions

By clicking Proceed I confirm I have read the important information and agree to the terms of use.


The Hermes Investment Management website uses cookies to remember your preferences and help us improve the site.
By proceeding, you agree to cookies being placed on your computer.
Read our privacy and cookie policy.


Encouraging turnaround

Home / EOS Case Studies / AstraZeneca

Bruce Duguid
22 May 2015

Noting the company’s underperforming productivity in research and development and subsequently poor market rating at the time, our engagement with AstraZeneca was triggered by a share incentive scheme introduced in 2010. We voted against the scheme as its performance hurdles in dividend payments and dividend cover painted a bleak picture for the future of the business. Following this we met the company’s chair in 2011, which heightened our concerns on the company’s strategic direction and performance and left us questioning the quality of the board and the company’s leadership. AstraZeneca made headlines in 2014 for a takeover approach by Pfizer, which it rejected despite a substantial premium to the pre-bid price.

What we did
Shortly after the meeting with the chair, we raised our concerns with another board member and welcomed the news that the refreshment of the chair’s role would be brought forward. This was at the same time as the CEO announced his retirement from the AstraZeneca board, signalling the gravity of concerns about the company’s performance. We requested a meeting with the chair designate before he officially took up the role to put across our thoughts on the company and get a sense of his initial views on how to rebuild market confidence in AstraZeneca. We also continued our discussions with the remuneration committee chair on how to incentivise the new management to revive the business.

We have since met the chair and other board members on a regular basis and have been impressed by the new leadership and the turnaround AstraZeneca is undergoing. The company’s reinvigorated performance ultimately resulted in the board feeling confident enough to reject the takeover bid from Pfizer in 2014. We have gained helpful insights into the board’s considerations in this regard as well as its vision for the future of AstraZeneca. However it is crucial that its board and management are held accountable for the performance targets implicit in the company’s rejection of the bid. In addition, given the importance of intellectual property protection for AstraZeneca, we have discussed the issue of cyber security with the chair, who is also the chair of communications and technology services company Ericsson. Although this is a topic we will continue to pursue, we have been encouraged by more recent developments at the company in this area.

Share this post:
Bruce Duguid Bruce Duguid is a director at Hermes EOS and leads engagements with environmentally-exposed companies across the mining, oil and gas and utilities sectors, as well as corporate governance engagements in the UK. He is the lead author of the Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change’s 'Investor Expectations of Mining Companies – Drilling Deeper into Carbon Asset Risk’. Prior to joining Hermes EOS he was head of sustainability at the UK Green Investment Bank, where he spent four years working on the project to establish the bank and then building its sustainability function. Before working in sustainability, Bruce worked in corporate strategy as a management consultant at the Boston Consulting Group and as head of strategy at Visa Europe. He is also a qualified lawyer in England and Wales and holds a degree in Natural Sciences from Cambridge University.
Read all articles by Bruce Duguid
Previous article:
Next article:

Remuneration targets reflect management’s projections for the performance and value of the company

Management held to account for strategic delivery against targets implicit in rejection of Pfizer bid

Implications of cyber risk for AstraZeneca’s business are fully understood and discussed at board level.

Find posts by author

  • Alex Knox, ACA
  • Amy Wilson
  • Andrew Jackson
  • Bill Mackenzie
  • Bruce Duguid
  • Christine Chow
  • Claire Gavini
  • Colin Melvin
  • Darren Brady
  • Dominic Burke
  • Dr Michael Viehs
  • Emeric Chenebaux
  • Emma Hunt
  • Geoffrey Wan, CFA
  • Hans-Christoph Hirt
  • Harriet Steel
  • Ilana Elbim
  • Ingrid Holmes
  • Jaime Gornsztejn
  • Jonathan Pines, CFA
  • Joseph Buckley
  • Justine Lutterodt
  • Kimberley Lewis
  • Leon Kamhi
  • Louise Dudley
  • Mark Sherlock, CFA
  • Maxime Le Floch, CFA
  • Maxine Wille
  • Michael Russell, CFA
  • Michael Vaughan
  • Michael Viehs
  • Natacha Dimitrijevic
  • Nick Spooner
  • Nina Röhrbein
  • Peter Hofbauer
  • Philip Nell
  • Rochelle Giugni
  • Roland Bosch
  • Sachi Suzuki
  • Saker Nusseibeh
  • Silvia Dall’Angelo
  • Tatiana Bosteels
  • Tim Goodman
  • Tommaso Mancuso
  • Yasmin Chowdhury

Find posts by category

  • governance