Denmark’s Dong Energy has said that an audit has uncovered “unusual employment and termination terms for a few key employees” just days after chief executive Anders Eldrup stepped down.
The state oil player has initiated an independent legal inquiry into the issue in the wake the audit by Danish state auditor Rigsrevisionen that uncovered terms agreed without the board of directors’ knowledge.
“In the last few days, the board of directors has uncovered circumstances that have led to a unanimous board having lost confidence in Eldrup,” the company said in a statement.
“It is against this background that Eldrup has stepped down,” Dong Energy said.
Eldrup resigned on Monday in a decision then described as by mutual consent that came before the audit results emerged, but which the board has now firmly linked to the affair.
Dong board chairman Fritz Schur said “the board is unanimous in its view that we should have been involved in these decisions, and it is therefore also a unanimous board that made the decision for Eldrup to step down”.
He said the inquiry was expected to report back to the board in two weeks’ time.
“As the case involves individuals, the board was unanimous in its wish to hold off providing further details until further clarification was available,” Schur said.
Schur said the board would not decide upon Eldrup’s termination terms until after the inquiry and that “accordingly, Eldrup has not been given any assurances with respect to the termination package that has been mentioned in the media”.
“We do not believe that Eldrup has acted for personal gain in this case,” Schur said.
“We continue to acknowledge the huge contribution that Eldrup has made over the years to make Dong Energy one of Northern Europe’s leading energy companies.”