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Nina Brink, the under-fire boss of European internet service provider World Online has quit.

In a statement issued from Rotterdam on April 13 the supervisory board of World Online International said that Mrs. Nina Brink after careful consideration and at her own request has resigned as chairwoman and member of the management board. She had taken this step in the interest of the company.

The Dutch company’s share price has recently plummeted below its flotation level.

The statement went on to say that, as from May, she would be working as an advisor on strategic and business development of the company. Her duties would be assumed by Simon Duffy, CEO and deputy-chairman of the management board of World Online International.

The resignation follows the news of a pending lawsuit against the company after its flopped float and the disclosure that Ms Brink had sold shares prior to the offering. She has been much criticised since its flotation because of her failure to disclose details of her sharedealing.

World Online, which operates in 17 European countries, cashed in on the internet share boom at its float which was 30 times oversubscribed. But the stock has lost nearly two-thirds of its value since its 17 March listing.

Investors bailed out after the news broke that Ms Brink sold most of her 6.35% stake - or 15 million shares - for about 6 euros per share before the float. The shares were sold to three separate entities, in a move which was described in the prospectus as being "transferred".

The resignation statement came shortly after private shareholders lobby VEB revealed it had filed a claim for damages with World Online and banks ABN AMRO and Goldman Sachs, lead managers for the public offering. Under Dutch law, claiming compensation from a firm is the first necessary step in any court action for damages.

VEB director Peter-Paul de Vries said World Online's offer prospectus had been unclear and had given "incorrect, incomplete and unclear information". He said investors had lost about 3.5 billion to four billion guilders ($1.5-1.7billion) in the two weeks after World Online's flotation.

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