The Alliance of critical Syngenta-shareholders has released the results of a written survey among its members and institutional shareholders of Syngenta fielded between Dec. 7 and Dec. 15, 2015. The findings of the survey resoundingly support the major change that the Alliance and many other shareholders have called for at Syngenta.

The results of the survey reflect a sample size of 112 total participants, including Alliance members, major active institutional investors, among them four of the top ten shareholders, and sell-side analysts. The sample represents approximately 20% of shares held by institutional investors and approximately 10% of total shares outstanding.

Syngenta’s strategic direction is deeply flawed according to the findings of the survey, with 89% of survey respondents agreeing that the company’s integrated strategy has failed. Shareholders are also aligned that Syngenta should quickly review its strategic options, including a sale of the company, with 88% of survey respondents strongly supporting this view. 79% are supportive of a formal auction process to sell Syngenta.

Shareholder concerns extend well beyond the strategy and performance of the business and into the board room. Participants almost unanimously agree that Syngenta has failed to represent the interests of the company’s investors. An overwhelming 94% of respondents strongly believe that the company has not represented their interests and 91% do not believe that Syngenta has a clear strategy to increase shareholder value. An even higher percentage of respondents, 96%, strongly believe that the company has poor corporate governance practices, while 91% agree that Syngenta excessively compensates the members of the board.

These shareholder concerns have undermined support for the board of directors. 59% of survey respondents report that they do not support Syngenta’s board of directors at all and another 35% only do so minimally. Demaré, the Chairman of the Board of Syngenta, has even less support, with 69% of respondents not supporting him at all and only 24% supporting him minimally.

Given the lack of support for the board of directors and the company’s strategy, shareholders believe that major changes are needed at the upcoming annual general meeting. 98% of respondents support a proposal to change the composition of the Board of Directors, while 70% support the election of a new chairman.

The results of this survey, particularly given the broad participation from Alliance members and institutional shareholders, cannot be ignored and represents a call to action for Syngenta shareholders and the board of directors. Change is required. It is clear that, if the board of directors continues to entrench itself and fails to address shareholder concerns, they do so at their own peril.

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