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Possible embezzlement committed by bpost employees: an investigation is underway, the CEO takes a step aside

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The Board of Directors of bpost and its CEO, Dirk Tirez, have decided by mutual agreement that the latter temporarily withdraw pending the results of an internal compliance review, bpostgroup announced overnight from Monday to Tuesday. Day-to-day management powers have been temporarily entrusted to Henri de Romree, CEO of e-Logistics North America.

The company has initiated a compliance review relating to the concession of the distribution of newspapers in Belgium, in which elements have been revealed which could indicate violations of the company’s codes of conduct and applicable laws.

As a reminder, bpost was awarded a State concession for the distribution of newspapers and periodicals on October 16, 2015. On March 31, 2021, the Belgian State decided to organize a public call for tenders with a view to to award a new concession for the period 2023-2027, for which bpost is a candidate to succeed itself. The procedure is still ongoing.

The compliance review of possible wrongdoing by people working for the company is fully underway, investing all possible resources“, assures bpostgroup.

Initiative of the CEO himself

According From Standaard, the investigation would seek to determine whether there was collusion between the publishers and bpost employees in determining the offer. The newspaper also reports that MP Michael Freilich (N-VA) will question the Minister for Public Enterprises, Petra De Sutter (Groen), on the internal audit of bpost in a parliamentary committee on Tuesday. This is to find out whether the possible collusion was aimed at obtaining a higher allocation from the government than is strictly necessary.

From Standaard further reveals that it is the CEO himself who would have sounded the alarm, triggering the internal audit, and who would step aside so that the operational management is not put under pressure during the investigation.

As soon as the Board of Directors has assessed the outcome of the review and its impact on the company, a further announcement will be made, concludes bpostgroup.

Minister of Public Enterprises Petra De Sutter (Groen) confirmed on Tuesday morning that the CEO of bpost is temporarily on the sidelines “so as not to hamper an internal investigationThe minister was briefed on internal audit as was the board of directors last week, she added. On Monday evening, the board of directors then announced that Mr. Tirez was resigning from his post. .

Henri de Romrée, who temporarily takes over the reins of bpost, has been appointed by the Board of Directors “to ensure business continuity for bpost group customers and staff“, added Mrs. De Sutter. The minister “hope that clarity will be made soon“.

Around 10 a.m., the company’s share price fell by more than 8% to 5.045 euros.