Telenor this week announced that it has reshuffled its board of directors, with the appointment of three new members, following the resignation of three of its former directors.
Three of Telenor’s board members— Burckhard Bergmann, Frank Dangeard and Marit Vaagen—resigned. Bergmann, Dangeard and Vaagen have served on the board since 2008, 2011, and 2013, respectively.
Filling the vacancies on the board resulting from the resignations are: Jacob Aqraou, former senior vice president of EMEA marketplaces at eBay; Siri Beate Hatlen, former executive vice president of Norway-based hydropower company Statkraft and CEO of Oslo University Hospital; and Ashok Vaswani, currently CEO for Barclays UK.
The restructuring of Telenor’s board follows a report issued by Deloitte, which the board engaged in November 2014, on how Telenor handled its 33% ownership of Amsterdam-based telecommunication services provider VimpelCom.
In March 2014, U.S. and Dutch authorities initiated an investigation into VimpelCom’s operations in Uzbekistan. Then in February 2016, VimpelCom entered into resolutions with the U.S. government agencies and agreed to pay more than $795 million in total fines and penalties for violating U.S. anti-corruption laws. Telenor has cooperated with investigating authorities as a witness in the case.
In its final report, Deloitte did not find that any Telenor employees have been involved in corrupt actions or any other legal offenses, but it did uncover internal weaknesses in its organizational structure, communication, and leadership in this matter.
“The board and the management recognize that we must improve how we work,” Gunn Wærsted, chair of Telenor’s board, said in a statement. “It is obvious to follow laws and regulations, but we have to reach further. There should never be any doubt that we in Telenor are fully compliant with our ethical guidelines.”
A central part of the report relates to Telenor’s handling of a serious matter in 2011, when an employee raised concerns of potential corruption to executives in Telenor and to Telenor nominated board members in VimpelCom. This concern, however, was not shared with Telenor’s then-CEO, Jon Fredrik Baksaas, until March 2014 and then to the Telenor board in December 2014. The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Fisheries was informed in October 2015.
“We acknowledge that on this occasion we were unsuccessful in handling an important concern according to Telenor’s ethical standards,” Telenor CEO Sigve Brekke said in a statement.
The latest board appointments follow the resignations of CFO Richard Olav Aa and General Counsel Pål Wien Espen. Svein Aaser, ex-chairman, also left the company in October 2015. Fridtjof Rusten and Ole Bjørn Sjulstad, both managers of Telenor who were temporarily relieved of their responsibilities during the Deloitte review, will revert to their former positions.