Compensation Report

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4. Architecture of compensation of the Group Executive Committee

The compensation for the Group Executive Committee includes a fixed annual base salary, a variable short-term element, a variable long-term element, participation in a management share plan, as well as occupational benefits and perquisites.

Architecture of compensation of the Group Executive Committee




Performance measures


Annual base salary (ABS)

Attract & retain

Position, experience and qualifications


Monthly cash payments

Variable short-term compensation element (short-term incentive, STI)

Pay for performance

Annual business performance

Group net profit

Annual cash payment

Variable long-term compensation element (long-term incentive, LTI)

Reward long-term, sustained performance; align with shareholders’ interests; retain


Role and area of responsibility

Relative total shareholder return (rTSR); increase in earnings per share (EPS)

Conditional rights to restricted shares A (Performance Share Units)

Zehnder Group Management share plan (ZGMSP)


Align with shareholders’ interests, retain

Level of position

Share price evolution

Discounted registered shares A


Protect against risks, attract & retain

Market practice and position


Retirement plan, insurances, perquisites

4.1 Annual base salary (ABS)

The annual base salary is determined individually on the basis of the scope and responsibilities associated with the position, experience and qualifications of the individual. The annual base salary is reviewed annually and adjustments reflect individual performance, current salary, competitive positioning, market salary trends and the affordability to the company.

4.2 Variable short-term compensation element (short-term incentive, STI)

The short-term incentive (STI) allows the Group Executive Committee to participate in the Group’s current success and is delivered in form of a cash payment under a profit-sharing plan. For each position, a profit-sharing amount is determined, taking into account the impact on the operating result, company strategy and responsibilities. The STI amount paid out for the fiscal year corresponds to the profit-sharing amount multiplied by the Group net profit (in EUR million). Since the reporting year, the STI can only be paid if a Group net profit of at least 60% of the budget value is achieved (lower limit, adjusted for non-budgeted one-off effects such as company acquisitions). This aligns with the STI principles of the other executives of the Zehnder Group. Considering the profit-sharing characteristic of the formula, there is no formal target level for this STI. However, there is a contractually agreed upper limit for the STI amount. This is set at 100% of the annual base salary for the CEO and 75% for all other members of the Group Executive Committee.

Calculation of the STI amount:



Individual profit-sharing amount (EUR)


Group net profit (MEUR)


STI amount (EUR)








The STI amount for any given fiscal year is paid in the spring of the following year.

The decision to directly and solely link the STI to the financial results of the company (Group net profit) is based on the conviction that performance management shall be disconnected from compensation. For the CEO and the other members of the Group Executive Committee, within the framework of the global performance management process, the performance objectives are derived directly from the business strategy by the Board of Directors at the start of each year and reviewed at regular intervals. This takes place at the request of the Compensation Committee. These performance objectives include financial, strategic and qualitative objectives, for example in the area of leadership and project management.

In case of termination of employment during the first half of the fiscal year, the STI is calculated pro rata temporis, based on pay-out level of the previous year. In case of termination of employment in the second half of the year, the published half-year figures for the pro rata temporis calculation are taken into account. And in case of termination of employment at the end of the year, the published annual results apply.

The STI is subject to clawback and malus provisions in the event that the company is required to prepare a relevant accounting/financial restatement or in the event of violating the law or the internal regulations.

4.3 Variable long-term compensation ­element (long-term incentive, LTI)

As part of a long-term share plan, the LTI is granted in the form of Performance Share Units (PSUs). The LTI rewards the long-term performance and the sustainable success of the Zehnder Group and is aligned to the interests of shareholders.

A PSU represents a conditional right to receive shares of the company. The prerequisite for this is the fulfilment of certain conditions during the three-year performance period (vesting period). The vesting conditions include both the attainment of the predefined performance objectives (performance conditions) and continuous and ongoing employment at the end of the vesting period (service condition).

The features of the LTI can be summarised as follows: At grant a target amount in relation to the LTI is determined for each member of the Group Executive Committee, taking the relevant benchmark for the individual total compensation into account.

In 2020, the allocation of the target amount consisted of 50% of the annual base salary for the CEO and no more than 50% of the annual base salary for the other members of the Group Executive Committee.

On the grant date, the individual target amount is converted into the relevant number of PSUs based on the average volume-weighted share price of Zehnder Group AG at the SIX Swiss Exchange during the period from 1 October to 31 December of the year before grant date.

50% of the performance condition is based on the relative total shareholder return (TSR) and the remaining 50% is based on the increase in earnings per share (EPS growth). The relative TSR is the achieved increase in value for the investor (that is, the share price performance plus dividend) in relation to a comparison group.

Peer group

The peer group for the relative TSR measure is a summary of comparable companies that have already been taken into account for benchmarking purposes. The Board of Directors confirmed that the following companies were comparable:





Burckhardt Compression











Metall Zug

Meier Tobler

Phoenix Mecano




Rewarding long-term performance

The total number of shares that are transferred to the participants after the vesting period is calculated as shown below. The performance factor can range between 0 and 150%, with no conversion into shares carried out below the threshold. The conversion into shares is limited to a maximum of 1.5 shares per PSU.

For both key figures, the Compensation Committee defines a lower limit for the performance level (with no vesting taking place below this limit), a target value (100% vesting) and an upper limit for the performance level (150% vesting). Between these levels, vesting is calculated on a linear basis.


Lower limit 25% (EPS) 50% (TSR) vesting

Target value 100% vesting

Cap 150% vesting

Relative TSR (50%)

25% percentile rank

Median of the comparison group

≥75% percentile rank

EPS growth (50%)

X% of the target value

EPS target value

Z% of the target value

EPS: Earnings Per Share, TSR: Total Shareholder Return

The achievement of the relative performance measure and the combined performance factor are calculated by an external independent consultancy company. If the Zehnder Group reports a loss from ongoing business activities during the last year of the three-year vesting period or in other exceptional cases, the Board of Directors reserves the right to specify whether and to what extent the PSUs will lapse for this period, regardless of the combined performance factor achieved.

In case of termination of employment, the blocked PSUs usually lapse, except in the event of retirement, disability, death or a change of control at the company. These provisions are outlined individually in the table below.

Reason for release


Plan rules for non-vested PSUs

Termination by employee



Termination of employment by employer for good cause



Termination of employment by employer (other causes)


Discretion of the Board of Directors



Discretion of the Board of Directors



Pro rata vesting, based on effective performance at regular vesting point in time



Accelerated pro rata vesting based on target performance (100% payment factor)

Change of control


Accelerated, full vesting based on effective performance at the point of change of control (except if the plan is continued or replaced with an equivalent)

PSUs or shares granted as part of the long-term share plan are subject to the same clawback and sunset clauses as the STI.

In the event of a participant failing to adhere to reporting regulations and/or committing fraud and/or breaching legislation or relevant internal regulations, these clauses enable the Board of Directors to declare that any variable cash compensation elements that have not been paid out or long-term incentives that have not yet been transferred are forfeited, either in part or in full (penalty clause), and/or to reclaim in part or in full any variable cash compensation elements that have been paid out or long-term incentives that have been transferred.

Shareholding guideline

To align the interests of the Group Executive Committee more closely with those of the shareholders, a shareholding guideline was introduced from the 2019 fiscal year onwards. Introduction of the shareholding guideline or after their appointment to the Group Executive Committee, the members of the Group Executive Committee must hold at least a multiple of their annual basic compensation in Zehnder Group AG shares, as demonstrated in the table below.


% of the annual base salary



Other members of the Group Executive Committee


CEO: Chief Executive Officer

4.4 Long-term benefits: Zehnder Group Management Share Plan (ZGMSP)

The Zehnder Group Management Share Plan (ZGMSP) is a long-term benefit programme with the objective to encourage members of the Group Executive Committee and all employees at management level to directly participate in the long-term success of the company. The Group Executive Committee members may elect to draw up to 30% of their annual base salary in the form of Zehnder Group AG registered shares A. These shares are offered at a discount of 30% on the relevant share price determined as the average volume-weighted share price of the share during the period between 1 October and 31 December. The shares are subject to a restriction period of three years during which they cannot be sold, transferred or pledged. The restriction period also applies in case of termination of employment, except in case of death where the restriction immediately lapses.

The ZGMSP strengthens the link between compensation and company long-term performance, as the compensation invested in the programme is exposed to the change in share value over the restriction period of three years.

4.5 Benefits

As the Group Executive Committee is international in its nature, the members participate in the benefit plans available in the country of their employment contract. Benefits consist mainly of retirement, insurance and healthcare plans that are designed to provide a reasonable level of protection for the employees and their dependents in respect to retirement and to the risks of disability, death and illness/accident.

The members of the Group Executive Committee with a Swiss employment contract participate in the pension plan offered to all employees in Switzerland, in which earnings up to an amount of CHF 700,000 per annum is insured. On 1 April 2020, optional pension saving schemes were introduced for all employees in Switzerland as a means of adapting to the changing market conditions. Within this context, employer pension contributions were increased by 1% in all cases. Employees also have the option of increasing their individual pension saving contribution by 1% or 2%. The Zehnder Group’s pension benefits exceed the legal requirements of the Swiss Federal Law on Occupational Retirement, Survivors and Disability Pension Plans (BVG) and are in line with what other international industrial companies offer. As a result of the employer pension contributions increasing by 1% during the reporting year, the pension benefits provided by the Zehnder Group are approaching the median of the peer group companies in Switzerland.

Members of the Group Executive Committee under foreign employment contracts are insured commensurately with market conditions and with their position. Each plan varies in line with the local competitive and legal environment and are structured in accordance with local practice and in line with local legal requirements.

In addition, the members of the Group Executive Committee are also eligible to standard perquisites such as a company car, children allowance, subsidised staff restaurant and other benefits in kind, according to competitive market practice in their country of contract. The monetary value of these other elements of compensation is evaluated at fair value and is included in the compensation tables.

Expenses that are not covered by the lump sum remuneration for expense allowance in accordance with the company’s expenses regulations are compensated upon presentation of documentary evidence. The reimbursement of business expenses is not considered compensation and does not need to be approved by the Annual General Meeting.

4.6 Contracts of members of the Group Executive Committee

The employment contracts of the members of the Group Executive Committee are unlimited, incorporate a notice period of minimum six to maximum twelve months and provisions on a non-competition clause, which is limited to two years after termination of the employment relationship and provides for an entitlement to a maximum of the annual base salary. There are no agreements with regard to severance compensation in connection with leaving the company or a “change of control”.

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