FSUOGM: Naftogaz board members resign

  • Sep 14, 2021
  • Newsbase

Three members of the independent board of Ukrainian state gas supplier Naftogaz resigned on September 8 amid tensions within the company’s current leadership.

The board of Western energy executives resigned in May in protest over the abrupt firing of former CEO Andriy Kobolyev, although they later agreed to stay on. That incident, and the appointment of former energy minister Yuriy Vitrenko, was criticised by Ukraine’s Western backers, who expressed concerns about reforms and Naftogaz’s independence from the government.

The National Agency on Corruption Prevention (NAZK) later called for Vitrenko’s appointment to be annulled, although he has insisted that it had complied with the law.

In an interview, Naftogaz supervisory board head Clare Spottiswoode accused Vitrenko of failing to co-operate with the board, claiming he was not answering their questions or sharing necessary documents.

“We simply cannot be effective in such circumstances, since we make some decisions, but they are not carried out,” she was quoted as saying by Interfax-Ukraine.

Rejecting these accusations, Vitrenko said on September 10 that Naftogaz needed professional independent directors that are elected through an open and fair competition. In comments on his Facebook page, the CEO said the company needed effective corporate governance and said the current board members were not professionals.

“There are no independent [board] members with specialised [oil and gas] education and production experience, no one with legal education and experience,” he said. “But if we sincerely support the supervisory board as an institution and not as a person ... then let us support a real competition for all independent members of the supervisory board as soon as possible.”

He called for the new board to be elected in line with OECD guidelines through “an open, competitive and merit-based process.”

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