Latvenergo council sacked, formed

  • 2003-01-23

An extraordinary shareholders meeting has sacked the council of Latvia's state-owned electrical utility Latvenergo and appointed a new council due to the former council's unsatisfactory work, said an Economy Ministry official.

Economy Ministry State Secretary Kaspars Gerhards, who represents the state on Latvenergo's board, said the previous council was sacked because he was not satisfied with their work, adding that he had decided on the move himself, without receiving any orders from Economy Minister Juris Lujans.

"As the Latvenergo state shareholder representative I must be sure that the company council is able to work in order to ensure the interests of the owner," said Gerhards.

He said that he believed the council had not done a professional job at monitoring the company board. What's more, a number of tasks had not been carried out in time - i.e., adopting board and council regulations.

Gerhards said the decision was not political, and that he is unaware whether any of the new council members represent any party currently in power.

The only council member retaining his post is the Economy Ministry's deputy state secretary on energy issues, Andris Liepins.

New council members include former Agriculture Minister - Roberts Dilba, director of the Institute of Physics and Energetics - Juris Ekmanis, head of office for Deputy Prime Minister Ainars Slesers - Juris Radzevics, and Council Chairman of Maras Banka - Vilis Vitols.

The previous Latvenergo council was chaired by Riga Technical University scientific pro-rector Leonids Ribickis. His deputy was Olegs Krauja and council secretary was Olga Geituse-Eitvina. The council also included representatives of the center-right People's Party --- Martins Emsins, Riga city Council development department director Vilnis Strams and Maira Bartasevica.

Another shareholders meeting to be held in the near future will have to appoint two more council members, as Latvenergo statutes allow for seven council members and provides for the council to have authority if at least half of the council takes part in meetings.

Gerhards, representing the state as shareholder in Latvenergo, told reporters that he would very seriously have to consider who to appoint in the remaining council positions.

The new council members, he said, were chosen by their professional skills, with their first task apparently set to be assessing Latvenergo's future plans. In any case, Gerhards said that the council would have to decide itself what it would do, as legislation limits the shareholder to force specific tasks and issues upon the council.

Latvenergo President Karlis Mikelsons told reporters, "Shareholders are shareholders. That is their right and choice. They need a politically trustworthy council."

Mikelsons added that for him this would be the fifth Latvenergo council he had to work with, while he would not yet assess the professional level of the new council members.

Rumors spread in the media earlier this week that Mikelsons would be losing his job. Asked what he thought of this, Latvenergo's president said, "They can do it if they like, but I'm not afraid. I am thinking about the energy sector and jobs that have to be done and not about whether I'll be sacked tomorrow."

Former Chairman of Latvenergo council Leonids Ribickis said he believed the sacked council did a good job and wished the new council luck. He refrained from stating why the council had been sacked.