Governance for and by our cooperative members

Our member-farmers are the lynchpin of our Group’s governance and the key to its stability. That said, it is vital for our governance to evolve as farming changes so that it remains democratic and relevant. In particular, we are conscious of the importance of reinforcing relationships with member-farmers, involving them more closely in the stewardship of the Group, working actively on the ground across our territory , and engaging the Group’s employees.

A stable and democratic model of governance 

VIVESCIA Group’s governance operates through two main bodies: the board of administrators and the executive committee. Under the authority of VIVESCIA Group's President, Christoph Büren, VIVESCIA Industries' Managing Director, Olivier Miaux, and the Director of the VIVESCIA Cooperative and its agricultural subsidiaries (VIVESCIA Agriculture), Jean-Luc Jonet, oversee the Group's financial performance.

Conseil d'administrationThe board of administrators represents VIVESCIA’s cooperative members. Made up of 24 elected administrators, it sets the Group’s objectives and ensures that they are achieved, through various governance committees: Audit committees, a remuneration committee, a financial commitments committee, and a CSR committee. The administrators are member-farmers elected by the full body of members. They are offered the training they need to carry out their roles and fulfil their responsibilities. Eight of these administrators sit on the board of administrators committee. The president of VIVESCIA is a farmer elected by the board of administrators.

comité exécutifThe executive committee is responsible for the Group's results and financial performance. It works closely with the board of administrators and implements a strategy designed to achieve the objectives set by the board. It has 11 members, including the directors of the Group and its various companies.

The governance of VIVESCIA Industries (a partnership limited by shares) is open to investors and controlled by its majority shareholder, VIVESCIA Group. The majority of the shares are held by the cooperative. It has three governance bodies.  

VIVESCIA structure

Dynamic governance

At VIVESCIA, governance is no rubber-stamping operation. We have continuously adapted our governance bodies so that they keep our business model relevant and preserve the connections between all our stakeholders. “Progress is our leitmotif,” said Group President Christoph Büren. “That’s how we combine cooperation, entrepreneurship and sustainable performance.” To continue this progress, we look to tools such as the Guide for good cooperative governance practices, published in spring 2021 by the French High Council for Agricultural Cooperation. And we take action!

One of our key challenges is finding the right balance of power between member-farmers, the administrators who represent them and the executives who look after the day-to-day running of the Group. That is why we ensure our elected administrators are supported in their roles and responsibilities: they can follow training at top institutions (ESSEC’s Sénèque pathway and NEOMA Reims).

To involve our elected member-farmers even more closely in the future plans of the Group and its subsidiaries, since 2020 elected members have been appointed to the boards of directors of our industrial subsidiaries to ensure that their diversification strategies serve the interests of the VIVESCIA Cooperative and our members.

" Obviously, you don’t manage a cooperative with more than 7,000 employees and processing subsidiaries in France and abroad the same way you manage your farm: everything is on a completely different scale! "

marie gaillot
Marie Gaillot
Farmer and administrator, member of VIVESCIA Industries’ supervisory board

I would say that the ESSEC/Sénèque training programme set up by the cooperative is absolutely essential for administrators if they are to make a full contribution. The course is organised as three study days per month over eight months, plus a field trip. It really is outstanding: the programme as a whole, the course content delivered by the trainers, and the external lecturers who know the cooperative world inside out.


It also provides an opportunity to meet other administrators from a whole range of cooperatives, compare experiences and find out more about what’s happening in other parts of the cooperative system. It’s an excellent initiative. But VIVESCIA is going even further, because we now vote to allocate a dedicated annual budget to help elected representatives gain the skills and expertise required of them as administrators. " 

Testimony of Denis Schoellen, Chairman of the remuneration committee

Have you always been an active member of the cooperative?
Yes, because the power we have is the power we grant ourselves. I also wanted to broaden my horizons. Being an administrator is a rewarding, but challenging, experience. The role also requires us to learn new skills. VIVESCIA offers training programmes that help us fulfil our responsibilities. So as we learn, we are entrusted with new missions.

Denis Schoellen

Have you always been an active member of the cooperative?
Yes, because the power we have is the power we grant ourselves. I also wanted to broaden my horizons. Being an administrator is a rewarding, but challenging, experience. The role also requires us to learn new skills. VIVESCIA offers training programmes that help us fulfil our responsibilities. So as we learn, we are entrusted with new missions.

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What is the role of the Remuneration Committee? ?It ensures that the compensation “package” (direct and indirect) awarded to the ten Group managers (VIVESCIA Agriculture and VIVESCIA Industries) is in line with market practices. We are helped in our mission by the HRD. If necessary, we call on specialized firms. The cooperative project of our VIVESCIA Group must make it possible to attract the best talents and keep them.

How does it work ?
The Remuneration Committee has 4 members: Christoph Büren (Chairman of VIVESCIA), Nicolas Demoury (Chairman of the Supervisory Board of VIVESCIA Industries and Vice-Chairman of VIVESCIA), Christine Mondollot (representing BPI France) and myself. It meets on average 4 times a year. Since 2017, the operation has been more participatory. It takes more time to do it. But that makes the experience even more exciting! I therefore encourage young farmers to get involved in shaping the VIVESCIA Cooperative to the needs of tomorrow.

We are also responsible for ensuring that our organisation structure is democratic, and that it maintains links with farmers and boosts the local economy. We set up and support initiatives that help us deepen our understandingof the farming world.

Given that agriculture is currently undergoing a paradigm shift and because our grain cooperative is an extension of the farms in our region, we have also created the GERMEA sponsored Chair (Group for Study and Research on Changes in the Agricultural Enterprise) with the support of two other cooperative groups, Euralis and Terrena. The results of the work carried out by this Chair will be useful to all agricultural stakeholders.