SWEDEN/SWITZERLAND - Engineering giant ABB has ordered an investigation into whether two former chief executives were paid too much in pensions and benefits only hours before it announced a massive profit plunge for 2001.
ABB - which registered a $691m net loss for last year - said that it was now reassessing sums received by former CEOs Percy Barnevik and Göran Lindahl, adding that restitution will be sought of any amounts over and above obligations.
According to ABB, Barnevik had received some CHF148m in pension benefits after his resignation as CEO in 1996, while Lindahl received around CHF85m.
“These benefits were made available under the assumption of proper corporate approvals by the board of directors or on the basis of board delegation,” said ABB chairman Jürgen Dormann.
“The board of directors has now determined that approval procedures for these benefits were unsatisfactory and that the company will seek restitution of amounts paid in excess of its obligations.”
The board added that it was acting after a detailed internal review in recent months, coupled with external expert opinions.
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