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Bayer Proposes Former CEO Wenning As Chairman, To Hike Dividend By 10%

German conglomerate Bayer AG (BAYRY.PK,BAYZF.PK) on Thursday proposed to elect its former Chief Executive Officer Werner Wenning as Chairman of its Supervisory Board with effect from October 1. He will succeed Manfred Schneider, who will remain in office until September 30.

Separately, the health care, nutrition and high-tech materials holding company said its Supervisory Board approved the recommendation of a 10 percent increase in annual dividend. The company will propose for the management changes as well as dividend in its Annual Stockholders' Meeting on April 27.

Wenning, 65, was the Chief Executive Officer from April 2002 until September 30, 2010. He will be the Chairman for the term until 2017. The company noted that the statutory "cooling-off period", after which former members of a company's board of management may join its supervisory board, ends after two years.

The Chairman is not directly elected by the Annual Stockholders' Meeting but by the members of the Supervisory Board.

In addition, the company also nominated two candidates for election as new stockholder representatives, including Sue Rataj, a board member of U.S. chemicals company Cabot Corp., and Thomas Ebeling, Chief Executive Officer of Germany's ProSiebenSat.1 Media AG.

The company added that it will also ask in the Stockholders' Meeting to vote on the introduction of a new compensation system for the Supervisory Board members. As per the new system, each member receive only fixed annual compensation of 120 thousand euros plus additional compensation for committee membership. The Chairman of the Supervisory Board would receive fixed compensation of 360 thousand euros annually.

Regarding its dividend proposal, the company said it plans to pay a dividend of 1.65 euros per share, higher than last year's 1.50 euros.

CEO Marijn Dekkers commented that "2011 was a very successful year for Bayer, and we want our stockholders to appropriately benefit from the company's performance."

On Frankfurt's Xetra, Bayer shares closed Thursday's trading at $56.02, down $0.05 or 0.09 percent.

by RTT Staff Writer

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