Appointment of auditor
The external auditor is elected by the General Meeting. The Audit Committee presents a recommendation on the appointment of an external auditor to the Group Board. The Group Board’s recommendation is then presented to the General Meeting, which makes the formal appointment of the Group’s external auditor. As a general rule, all Group companies are to use the same audit firm. Exceptions may be approved by the Group CFO.
Tenders for the Group’s external audit services as from the 2011 financial year were invited in the autumn of 2010. Following a thorough evaluation by management and the Audit Committee, it has been decided to continue with Ernst & Young as the company’s auditor.
The Group Board’s relationship with the external auditor
According to its mandate, the Audit Committee is responsible for ensuring that Schibsted is subject to an independent and effective external audit. The Audit Committee will evaluate the following factors relating to the external auditor each year:
- The audit firm's independence
- The quality of the auditing services
- The estimated fee
The Audit Committee will submit a proposal to the Group Board and the Annual General Meeting regarding the approval of the external auditor’s fee. For information on the fees payable to the external auditor for the 2010 financial year, refer to note 27 of the group's annual financial statements.
Ernst & Young is Schibsted’s external auditor. The external auditor presents a plan for the audit work each year. This plan is presented to the Audit Committee. The company’s external auditor is present when the management presents the preliminary consolidated financial statements to the Group Board, and also when the final results are presented if appropriate. The external auditor also conducts an annual review for the Audit Committee of the company’s internal controls, including identified weaknesses and proposed improvements. The external auditor regularly attends Audit Committee meetings and holds annual meetings with the Group Board at which the management is not present.
The external auditor attends the company’s General Meeting and comments on the auditor’s report.
The external auditor’s independence
The external auditor must under no circumstances perform advisory services or other services if these may affect or raise doubts about the auditor’s independence. The Group has prepared guidelines on the relationship with the external auditor.
In the Group Board’s view, the advisory services provided by the external auditor in 2011 do not influence the auditor’s independence, but the Group Board is aware of the potential issues related to this. This issue is monitored by the Audit Committee. See note 27 for information on fees related to auditing and consulting.