Belgian Government sacks Belgacom CEO over criticism

The CEO of Belgian incumbent operator Belgacom, Didier Bellens, has been sacked by the state Government, which is the firm’s largest shareholder. The announcement was made late Friday by Prime Minister Elio di Rupo, who said that the Government was unable to tolerate the public criticisms that Bellens has recently levelled at it.

According to local reports, di Rupo told journalists that “repeated criticism and incidents have irrevocably undermined the confidence of the Belgian Government in Didier Bellens.”

In a speech last week Bellens likened the Prime Minister’s approach to the Government’s annual dividend from Belgacom to a child holding its hands out in expectation at Christmas. He has also described the government as the firm’s “most difficult” shareholder.

Belgacom issued a statement indicating that management responsibility in the immediate term will be divided between chief financial officer Ray Stewart and chairman of the board Stefaan De Clerck. The search for a full time replacement begins this week.

Reports suggest that the Belgian Government does not want to pay Bellens the hefty severance fee that is written into his contract, which may lead to a length legal dispute between the ousted CEO and his former shareholder.

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