KPN CFO Smits-Nusteling departs over conflict with new management structure

Dutch telephone incumbent KPN (NYSE: KPN) is facing some shifts at the top as CFO Carla Smits-Nusteling decided to leave the company over conflicting views of the management structure that new CEO Eelco Blok put in place.

Carla Smits-Nusteling


Taking her place will be current KPN Group Belgium CEO Eric Hagerman, who will serve as full-time interim CFO and oversee investor relations, M&A, fiscal affairs and treasury. Jos Donvil will act as interim CEO for KPN Group Belgium.

Meanwhile, Steven van Schilfgaarde, currently CEO Corporate Market NL, will act as interim CFO and take on the responsibilities for control and reporting, accounting and security.

KPN's supervisory board said it intends to quickly find a permanent successor.

Smits-Nusteling's departure comes amidst the transition to Blok's new 'Strengthen - Simplify - Grow' management strategy that it revealed last May. Under the new management structure, the service provider wants to have more direct control over its operational activities by having each company division leader talk about their concerns directly with management board members in an executive committee.

Stefan Simons, a KPN spokesman, said the new structure will allow more direct control and decision-making than the previous procedure, where various unit boards reported to the management board.

Although Simons would not reveal what Smits-Nusteling's issues with the new structure were, Stuart Gordon, an analyst at Berenberg Bank, wrote in a research note that "We expect that there will be speculation that the CFO is leaving either because there could be another profit warning in the pipeline or that there was discord on the financial direction of the company, in particular short-term leverage."

For more:
- Bloomberg has this article

Related articles:
KPN names Eelco Blok new CEO
KPN lowers 2011 outlook, plans to cut 5,000 Dutch employees
KPN to appoint CEO successor soon
KPN/Qwest's debt suit