Aurubis moves to terminate CEO’s contract after copper scam

23rd January 2024 By: Bloomberg

Aurubis moves to terminate CEO’s contract after copper scam

The Aurubis plant in Hamburg, Germany

Aurubis is preparing to terminate the contract of its CEO and two other executive board members, as the copper producer seeks to move on from a giant raw-material scam.

The company’s supervisory board is in advanced talks with CEO Roland Harings, CFO Rainer Verhoeven and COO Heiko Arnold about ending their contracts, the company said on Monday. It may also appoint Markus Kramer from the supervisory board to the executive board, it said.

The move follows Aurubis’s decision to carry out an independent legal probe into a criminal scam that cost the copper producer about €169-million last year. The company warned in December that it may make executive changes once the review was concluded. The supervisory board will meet to discuss and resolve its plans on Tuesday, Aurubis said.

Aurubis’s shares fell 4.2% in Frankfurt trading.

Aurubis sent shockwaves through the European copper industry in August when it said it had been hit by a sophisticated scam perpetrated by suppliers and complicit employees. The fraud — which involved valuable scrap raw materials — followed on from a smaller theft discovered a few months earlier, and raised uncomfortable questions about the company’s security controls.

Harings and other executives have also faced scrutiny following the death of three workers after a nitrogen leak at its Hamburg plant.

The CEO said in October that it had overhauled its processes to ensure that it would be “difficult if not impossible” for such a fraud to occur again.

Harings joined Aurubis in 2019 after the company terminated the contract of its former CEO Juergen Schachler due to cost over-runs at a major new smelting project.