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Cabinet dismissed all members of Naftogaz’s Supervisory Board

All members of the supervisory board of Naftogaz have resigned. Photo: Yuri Matsyuk

All members of the supervisory board of Naftogaz have resigned. Photo: Yuri Matsyuk

The Cabinet of Ministers, following independent directors who had resigned in early September, dismissed members of the Supervisory Board of Naftogaz of Ukraine from the state: Yuliya Kovaliv, Nataliya Boyko, and Yulia Svyrydenko. Kovaliv announced this on her Facebook page.

"The powers of all Supervisory Board members have been terminated, so the shareholder (the Cabinet) and the new management will make all decisions important for the company," Kovaliv wrote.

As reported, after receiving letters of resignation of the Supervisory Board independent members in early September, Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal ordered to announce a competition for selecting three more independent members to the previously announced competition for selecting one independent member of the Board.

According to him, the competition should end in November this year, so that the new Supervisory Board composition has enough time to determine the requirements for a candidate for the post of NJSC Board Chairperson and hold a competition for electing the Chair no later than May 1 of next year. During the absence of the Supervisory Board, if necessary, the Cabinet of Ministers may perform part of its functions within the framework of the shareholders' meeting, approving the necessary decisions.

Context. On April 30 this year, five members of the Naftogaz Supervisory Board (Clare Spottiswoode, Bruno Lescoeur, and Ludo Van der Heyden, as well as Yuliya Kovaliv and Nataliya Boyko) publicly announced the termination of their powers from May 14. After that, the government offered them to stay at their positions for another year, until a new council was elected.

This was preceded by the Cabinet of Ministers recognition of the work of the Supervisory Board and the Management Board of Naftogaz as unsatisfactory. At that time the government first terminated the powers of all Supervisory Board members with their subsequent re-election in full, but from April 30, 2021.

On April 28, 2021, the Cabinet of Ministers decided to dismiss Andriy Kobolev, who had been managing Naftogaz since 2015. After that, the company was headed by Acting Minister of Energy Yuriy Vitrenko.

Kobolev stated that he had found out about his dismissal from the media, and repeatedly hinted at the illegality of the Cabinet’s actions. Naftogaz itself called the decision of the Cabinet of Ministers a "legal manipulation": in order to fire Kobolev, the Cabinet of Ministers dismissed the Supervisory Board of Naftogaz for two days. The US and the G7 sharply criticized Kobolev's dismissal and hinted at political interference in the work of Naftogaz.

On June 15, NACP stated that Vitrenko had been illegally appointed to the post of Head of Naftogaz. The national agency sent a demand to the Supervisory Board of Naftogaz to dismiss Vitrenko, and the very next day, Clare Spottiswoode, the Chairperson of the Supervisory Board, initiated his resignation. However, later the Supervisory Board for some reason changed its mind about dismissing him and postponed the decision.

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