Page 25 - Dutch Asiatic Shipping Volume 1
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 a short list of three names, nominated by the sitting directors. But even before the charter was published Amsterdam raised objections against this rule, with the result that the States of Holland transferred the right of nomination to the burgomasters of the chamber cities concerned. In Zeeland too nomination was later left to the town corporations.48
When the charter was renewed in 1622 and 1647, changes were made in the rules on terms of office, payment and election of directors, as a result of protests by shareholders. In 1622 a term of office of three years was prescribed, and a timetable was devised for periodic retirements, to prevent an 'en bloc' retirement of the whole board at the end of the three-year period. A director could hold office for more than one term however, as long as the terms were not consecutive. But before long this regulation was lost sight of. In view of the frequent changes other than from periodic retirements, this rule would endanger continuity of management, thus Pieter van Dam, the company's advocaat, de- fended the action of the directors who usually stayed on for life.4 9
In 1622 a change was also made in the procedures for electing new directors. When a vacancy arose the shareholders, summoned by handbills, now had to elect as many prin- cipal shareholders as there were sitting directors remaining in the chamber. Together with these principal shareholders - a principal shareholder was one whose shares in the Com- pany were equal to those required of directors - the directors now formed an electoral college, which drew up a short-list of three, from which the town corporation made its choice.5 0
Payment on the basis of commission provoked many accusations from shareholders, and could indeed easily lead to abuse. For the directors did their own trading outside the VOC and were often suppliers to the Company. In 1622 payment was reduced to one per cent of the proceeds of imported goods only. Transactions by directors with the V O C became subject to express approval of the States-General. In 1647 the commission link was completely abolished and replaced by a system of fixed remunerations: directors of the Amsterdam chamber henceforth received fl 3100 annually, those of Zeeland fi 2600 and those of the smaller chambers fl 1200.51 At the same time the rule was abolished whereby staff salaries were chargeable to the directors - although cancellation of this rule was probably no more than a legalization of an already established practice.5 2
In the course of the seventeenth century some modifications were carried through in the composition of the boards of directors of the various chambers. In 1645 the Amsterdam chamber, in order to find support for the renewal of the charter, had pledged itself to reserve two of its twenty directors' seats for delegates from Haarlem and Leiden respec- tively. In 1696 it was on similar grounds that the boards of directors of the smaller chambers were extended with two delegates from the nobility of Holland. The nobility was allotted one seat in the Noorderkwartier; every three years this alternated between the Hoorn and Enkhuizen chambers, the change-over coinciding with the appointment of a new
48 In Holland the right of appointment was given to the towns as early as 16th March 1602 (as apparent from the 'Autorisatie', G . A . Amsterdam, Archief Burgemeesteren, Port. 3).
49 Van Dam, Beschryvinge, vol. 63, 157.
50 Instructions for the elections were sometimes interpreted differently by the chambers, for instance
in Zeeland more principal shareholders were present at elections, see Van Dam, Beschryvinge,
vol. 63, 159-160.
51 De Korte, De jaarlijkse financiƫle verantwoording, 6, gives the amounts of commission received
by the directors for the years 1641/42 to 1646/47.
52 Van Dam, Beschryvinge, vol. 63, 200.

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