Telenor ends Baksaas consultancy as Vimpelcom fallout takes its toll

Jon Fredrik Baksaas

Jon Fredrik Baksaas

Telenor has terminated its consultancy agreement with former CEO Jon Fredrik Baksaas by mutual agreement amidst the ongoing fallout of an international criminal investigation into alleged corruption involving Russian service provider Vimpelcom, in which the Norwegian telco has a one third stake.

Baksaas, who stepped down as Telenor CEO in August after 13 years, was a Vimpelcom board member until the end of last year. He has since served as a strategic consultant to the Telenor board of directors, reporting to interim chairman Frank Dangeard.

Baksaas has also notified the board that he will refrain from taking his bonus payment for 2015.

Vimpelcom is being investigated by police in Norway, the Netherlands, Switzerland and the US over payments made relating to its operations in Uzbekistan.

“The recent developments in the ongoing investigations of VimpelCom make my role as strategic advisor to the Board in Telenor challenging. I have dedicated my career to Telenor and find the situation very unfortunate, complex and sad for the company. It is vital that Telenor’s management and Board of Directors now have room to handle the situation effectively. I hope my decision will contribute to this and wish Telenor and all its great employees all the best,” said Baksaas.

“Although it is VimpelCom that is under investigation, and Telenor is cooperating with the investigating authorities as a witness, questions have been raised about what information the Telenor Group had about the alleged corruption in VimpelCom. The Board of Directors have initiated an external review by Deloitte law firm to get to the bottom of this and all other aspects of this case. I am pleased that the Board and Baksaas have reached a mutual agreement to terminate the consultancy agreement,” said Dangeard.