ABB says deal near with former CEOs

ABB hopes to come to an agreement with its former CEOs soon Keystone Archive

The Swiss-Swedish engineering concern, ABB, says it is optimistic about reaching a deal over the disputed pension payouts of two former CEOs.

This content was published on March 7, 2002 - 10:32

Company officials say an independent expert is continuing an assessment of the pension and benefits packages given to Percy Barnevik and Goran Lindahl when they stepped down from their posts.

But they said talks with the two men were also taking place and that an agreement might be reached before the company's AGM in Zurich next Tuesday.

"It's a 50-50 chance," said Jürgen Dormann, who took over as ABB's non-executive chairman when Barnevik resigned last November.

"That's my personal feeling. But until it is actually signed, you don't have an agreement," he added.

Barnevik received SFr148 million tax-free when he stepped down as CEO in 1996. His successor, Goran Lindahl, was promised a total of SFr85 million in severance and pension benefits when he was forced out at the end of 2000, although the company stopped making payments to him in the middle of last year.

ABB said neither payout was made with its knowledge or approval.

ABB has declined to say how much it wants the two men to repay but companies typically aim to give retiring executives annual pension payments of between 50 to 70 per cent of their final salaries.

The company hasn't said how much Barnevik earned in his final years as CEO. But ABB has revealed that the current CEO, Jorgen Centermann, last year earned SFr3 million, half of it in bonuses.

swissinfo with agencies

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