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KPN calls time on appointment of under-investigation Leroy

Dutch telco KPN has said Dominique Leroy “is no longer a candidate” to be chief executive of the company after its appointment of the former Proximus CEO was derailed by an investigation into the sale of shares by the latter ahead of her resignation from the Belgian service provider.

Dominique Leroy

Dominique Leroy

KPN said that the length of the probe initiated by the Belgian authorities was “unclear and unpredictable” and that it was not in the company’s interest to impose further uncertainty on the company and its shareholders.

Joost Farwerck will temporarily take on the role of chief executive of KPN.

KPN chairman Duco Sickinghe said: “This was a difficult decision for the Supervisory Board given the track record of Mrs Dominique Leroy as a very accomplished executive. However, the uncertainty around timing results in a situation that the supervisory board considers not in the interest of KPN. We wish her all the best.”

The decision has led to the cancellation of a planned EGM of KPN shareholders at the end of this month.

The Belgian probe was initiated after Leroy admitted selling shares in Proximus a month before her announced departure from the company, although she has claimed she did not know for sure at the time that she intended to leave for KPN.

Leroy was forced to quit her role at the Belgian telco earlier than planned, on September 20, with CFO Sandrine Dufour taking over as interim CEO with the support of chairman Stefaan de Clerck.

Leroy had earlier apologised for the perception created by thesale of the shares.

She said she had intended to trade shares she owned in the company for some time but was prevented from doing so by a closed period restriction, but added that he understood “with hindsight” that “the timing can create the perception that I did this exactly prior and because of my departure”.