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Statoil's CEO resigned last night

Olav Fjell withdrew from his position as CEO of the Norwegian company Statoil this morning. The conclusion was reached after an eight hour long meeting ending at 1:30 a.m.

Fjell was promised NOK 7.5 million (USD 1 million), approximately two years of his salary, as a compensation for resigning.

The statement was issued in a press release to the journalists waiting outside Statoil’s offices in Oslo in the early morning hours Tuesday. According to the release, the board and Fjell agreed that it would be the best thing for the company in order to normalize the situation if Fjell withdrew from his position.

The meeting went on for eight and half hours before a conclusion was reached. Fjell was visibly affected by the situation when he arrived at the meeting at 5 p.m. Monday, and it was a battered man who met the press at 1:30 a.m. Tuesday.

True to tradition

When Fjell now has resigned from the company, he follows a well established tradition. His two predecessors also withdrew from this top position.

Arve Johnsen was asked to leave in 1987 and Harald Norvik followed in his footsteps in 1999. The backgrounds were massive budget transgressions, while this time the reason is a possible corruption case.

The background for Fjell’s withdrawal is the controversial consultant contract in Iran, which the CEO personally gave his people the authority to enter into. Statoil signed the NOK 115 million krone contract with Horton Investment Inc. in June of last year.

Regrets

“There are some things which I would like to undo,” Fjell said to TV 2 when he left Statoil’s offices around 2 a.m. this morning. “Statoil is a strong company with many opportunities, and I hope my resignation will give the employees the opportunity to concentrate all their energy on developing the company further.”

Full salary for two years

According to the press release, Fjell will receive his full salary for two years as compensation for resigning from the position.

Fjell was paid NOK 3.77 million in salary and other benefits last year. In other words, two years worth of salary is approximately NOK 7.5 million. Furthermore, according to a statement from Statoil, Fjell will as of the age of 60 receive early retirement benefits in accordance to the employment contract.

Inga K. Hansen, age 57, will function as CEO after Fjell’s resignation.

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