KPN chooses yet another CEO after first choice ditched after ‘insider trading’ scandal

CEO merry-go-round

What a difference a day makes, KPN has just appointed its second CEO inside a month after the previous chosen top dog became embroiled in a police investigation around the trading of Proximus shares.

Telco services firm KPN has appointed company veteran Joost Farwerck as its new CEO as of today, and Chris Figee as its new CFO, who is coming from publicly-listed insurance group ASR Netherlands.

KPN withdrew its job offer to its first choice chief executive officer yesterday after a police insider trading investigation was recently launched against her.

Dominique Leroy, CEO of Belgium’s Proximus, was named as KPN’s new CEO in September. But since then, Belgian authorities have launched an investigation into her sale of around €300,000-worth of Proximus shares in early August, at a time when she was in talks with KPN about joining.

Leroy has denied any insider trading and has argued that she had not decided to leave Proximus at the time of the transaction. She has however regretted the “perception” around the trade.

On reporting its change of mind in appointing Leroy this week, KPN said it was unsure about how long investigations would last and that it “considers these uncertainties around timing not in the interest of KPN and its stakeholders”.

Farwerck has been a member of the KPN board of management since 2013 and is currently chief operating officer, a role he has fulfilled since 2014.

Duco Sickinghe, chairman of the KPN supervisory board, said: “With Joost assuming the role of CEO, the supervisory board is pleased to appoint an experienced telecommunications professional. Joost knows the company inside out and the environment the company is operating in.

“With Joost as CEO, we are convinced that we will make good progress on the further development and execution of KPN’s strategy.”

Farwerck said: “KPN is a company with a realistic strategy in place to perform in a competitive market. My primary focus will be to deliver on that strategy and explore how we can accelerate the execution even more to deliver organic sustainable growth.”

Figee is joining as CFO on 1 February 2020. Figee succeeds Jan Kees de Jager who, after more than five years as CFO of KPN, is stepping down from his role to “continue his entrepreneurial career”, said KPN.

The remuneration packages for both executives will consists of base salaries combined with long- and short-term incentive plans. The base salary of Farwerck will be €875,000 per year, and Figee’s will be €675,000 per year.