Think Tools investor calls for more transparency

Peter Friedli asks some questions of the way things are running at Think Tools Keystone Archive

Swiss venture capitalist Peter Friedli has called for the Think Tools company to appoint an outsider to take a hard look at what went wrong in the group. His aim is to restore investor confidence.

This content was published on June 15, 2001 - 09:53

Friedli, who is a member of the Swiss-based group's board, said any such investigation would stop short of a legal audit. However, he said that a "person of trust" should carry it out.

Think Tools, which offers technology-based consulting services for corporate and government clients, has seen its shares fall by nearly 90 per cent to just a fraction of their issue price of SFr270 ($152.54) in March 2000.

Friedli who controls around five per cent of Think Tools wants to know more about why the group has been beset by problems in recent months.

"All I want is a little more transparency. Shareholders should know if there were mistakes," Friedli said, "It is not so much about numbers. It is also about communication."

At the time of its market launch, Think Tools was billed by the Swiss press as one of the most successful floatations on Switzerland's budding New Market for growth stocks. Its shares rocketed from their launch price to SFr1,050 on their first trading day of trading alone.

Since then, however, Think Tools has suffered from problems with its management, as well as with its 18 per cent stake in a failed e-bank, which private bank Vontobel scrapped earlier this year after running up costs of roughly SFr250 million.

Think Tools also blames its own management for the problems. Its founder, German academic Albrecht von Müller, announced last March he was handing over the job of chairman to Jack Schmuckli, a former Sony board member.

On Thursday, the group appointed Lloyd O'Connor as the latest in a line of three chief executives who have led the company since floatation.

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