Troubled civil engineering group Grontmij suspends COO

Civil engineering group Grontmij has suspended its executive board member Jean-Luc Schnoebelen with immediate effect and plans to ask an extraordinary shareholders meeting to sack him, the company said in a statement on Friday.

The suspension is based on the ‘functioning and behaviour’ of Schnoebelen and ‘his lack of support to the review of Grontmij’s financial structure’, the statement said.
The move is the latest upheaval in the company’s management since it warned mid-November that it would book disappointing earnings in 2011 and it became clear the company cannot carry its debts.
Two supervisory board members and three executives, including the CEO and CFO, have already left in the past 2.5 months. Earlier this month executive board member Annemieke Nijhof left over the division of responsibilities.
Grontij said the situation with Schnoebelen, who joined the firm in 2010, was an ‘irreparable breach of confidence’.
The company has scheduled a shareholders meeting for March 9 to approve the sacking and appoint new executives, as well as its 2011 results.
According to the Financieele Dagblad, investors expect the company to issue new shares, one reason why its share price has dropped. Grontmij shares are now trading at under €6, compared with over €16 a year ago.