May 10, 2018 / 12:42 PM / 15 days ago

Dutch energy company Eneco's nomination for CEO angers works council

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - A dispute over the planned sale of Dutch energy company Eneco resurfaced on Thursday with the company’s works council criticizing the board’s nomination of Ruud Sondag, the former executive of a recycling company, as its new CEO.

If approved by shareholders at an extraordinary meeting on May 25, Sondag will replace Jeroen de Haas, whose departure was announced on April 16 and is effective from September.

The works council and De Haas have opposed putting the company up for sale, even though a large majority of the 53 municipalities that own Eneco favor a sale.

Eneco declined to clarify the reasons for De Haas’s departure and the works council said last month it would ask the Amsterdam Enterprise Chamber to launch an inquiry into his departure and other recent actions of the supervisory board.

On Thursday it said the board had also failed to properly consult it before Sondag’s appointment.

“The works council regrets this course of events and is considering its position and possible further steps,” the head of the works council, Willem Hofman, said in a statement.

Eneco’s 53 municipal shareholders voted in October in principle to sell the company, valued at around 4 billion euros ($4.8 billion).

Potential bidders include Shell, Total SA (TOTF.PA), Enel (ENEI.MI), Engie (ENGIE.PA), Verbund (VERB.VI), Orsted (ORSTED.CO) and Fortum (FORTUM.HE).

De Haas and the works council are concerned a new owner could fire workers or undo the company’s renewable energy-oriented profile, and have lobbied for a partial sale or IPO.

($1 = 0.8419 euros)

    Reporting by Toby Sterling; Editing by Susan Fenton

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