Daycare company boss quits after criticism over bankruptcy bonuses

The chief executive of childcare group Smallsteps, at the centre of a dispute over its ‘bankruptcy’ earlier this year, has resigned, the NRC says on Friday.

According to an internal newsletter to staff, Jean-Pierre Bienfait has stood down after coming under fire for accepting two bonuses in the run up to the bankruptcy.

Smallsteps was formally known as Estro, the biggest childcare group in the Netherlands, which went bust in July and restarted immediately.

On Thursday, social affairs minister Lodewijk Asscher criticised the bonuses, saying it is unacceptable if senior management ‘reward themselves generously’ ahead of going bust. The official receiver is still investigating the circumstances surrounding the bankruptcy.

In a statement, Bienfait told the NRC the bonuses were based on an earlier agreement for reaching targets but declined to say what those targets were. Nor would the company say if he is being paid a golden handshake, the NRC says.

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