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Statoil's chairman steps down

Leif Terje Løddesøl resigned as chairman in Statoil with immediate effect, and the board is scheduled for an extraordinary meeting Monday afternoon without a chairman.

This information was provided in a press release sent out just before midnight Sunday.

The extraordinary meeting, which was scheduled before Løddesøl’s announcement, will be held at 5 p.m. Monday in order to thoroughly examine Iran contract.

Since the chairman has resigned, the board has a new issue to address, and CEO Olav Fjell’s future in the company will probably also be discussed.

Løddesøl’s statement

According to Løddesøl, his ability to run the board in an effective manner has been reduced due to the current debate in Statoil, and the company will therefore be better served with another chairperson.

“Statoil has grown into an impressive company with great possibilities ahead of it. Committed, positive and interesting people deserve support in order to develop the company further,” Løddesøl said.

According to the Norwegian news bureau (NTB), Løddesøl did not want to comment the case further Sunday night.

The board meeting

The board meeting was scheduled before Løddesøl announced his resignation because the board members wanted a new and more thorough run-through of the Iran contract that made Økokrim investigate the company for corruption.

Further inquiries

Furthermore, criticism has been voiced because the Statoil’s internal investigators, mainly Svein Andersen, head internal auditor, and David Platts, head of the group’s security, had not yet been called in to the board or the corporate assembly. However, they have been called in to the Monday meeting together with Stig Bergseth, director of health, environment and safety.

The Iran Contract

The background for the dramatic circumstances that are sending shock waves through this company is the contract Statoil entered into a year ago with Horton Investments Ltd., a British consultant agency.

The company was going to supply Statoil with information about the Iranian oil market. The contract had a time span of 10 years with a value of NOK 115 million. However, suspicion of corruption surfaced with it became known that one of the advisors was the son of Iran’s former president Hashemi Rafsanjani.

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