VILNIUS - Gintautas Mazeika has quit as CEO of the national energy company Leo LT after just five months in the post and is demanding compensation to the tune of 189,600 litas (55,000 euros).
"My [employment] contract says that if I resign, I cannot work in the electricity sector either in Lithuania or outside the country for two years. A compensation of six months' [salary] 's 240,000 litas [before taxes] 's is envisaged for that," Mazeika said.
Mazeika handed his resignation to the company's supervisory board asking to be relieved of his duties on March 26.
"This is a carefully weighed decision, although not an easy one. When I took the helm of the company five months ago, I sought not only to accelerate the implementation of strategic projects and to communicate openly with the public, but also to improve the efficiency of the companies under our control," Mazeika said in a press release.
"I believed that all sides supporting the country's energy independence would work toward the common goal, but an increasing lack of confidence on the part of politicians and further efforts to set up an opposition between Leo LT and the public have [had] a very destructive effect on the company - hurt its reputation and affect the course of the strategic projects," he said.
Mazeika also said that the company was being discredited in the eyes of its partners and financial institutions and that time was being wasted.
Lithuanian Energy Minister Arvydas Sekmokas has disapproved of the resignation ahead of important meetings.
"With several days left before the shareholder meeting, this move is strange and hasty," Sekmokas' aide told the Baltic News Service.
Asked what he thought about Mazeika's resignation, Prime Minister Andrius Kubilius, who has been a harsh critic of Leo LT, told reporters, "I don't seem to be crying yet."
"The minister is of a negative opinion about Leo LT's activities, because they were orientated toward making a profit, rather than toward the long-term interests of consumers and energy security. The strategic projects failed to get off the ground," Sekmokas' aide said.
Mazeika is the second CEO to resign from the post since the company's establishment last May.
Mazeika took over in October following the resignation of Rymantas Juozaitis.
Mazeika, 41, was appointed as head of the national energy company, which plans to pour billions of litas into projects in the energy sector, on Oct. 24.
Before this appointment, he had been the CEO of Rytu Skirstomieji Tinklai (RST), one of two power distribution subsidiaries of Leo LT.
NO BREAK UP
Kubilius has said the liquidation of Leo LT would be beneficial to its private shareholder, NDX Energija, and could cost the state and tax payers several billion litas, despite the company being found unconstitutionally founded by the country's Constitutional Court.
"We must weigh all possible consequences. Sometimes I get the impression that the same private shareholder may benefit if some decisions and laws - making the establishment of Leo LT null and void from the very beginning - were adopted now," Kubilius said.
"That could possibly allow the private shareholder to go to arbitration and demand large sums of money in compensation, which - at least I have heard some experts saying that - could be huge, to the tune of several billion [litas]," he said.
The parliament was to start debating proposals, put forward by members of the Law and Order Party and of the Conservative Party, to annul a law that paved the way for the establishment of Leo LT last year.
The Lithuanian government holds a 61.7 percent stake in Leo LT and NDX Energija, a company controlled by the ten owners of the VP Group, owns the remaining 38.3 percent.