Oceanteam names interim CEO after Halbesma duo resigns

The article has been updated on April 3, 2018, to include responses from Lex van Doorn, and Torbjørn Skulstad who deny allegations made by Halbesma family.


Dutch-Norwegian offshore vessel owner Oceanteam has appointed interim CEO after Haico Halbesma earlier this month tendered his resignation.

In a stock exchange filing on Tuesday Oceanteam said Meindert van Genderen would take over as interim CEO on March 30.

He will report directly to the Board of Directors. Van Genderen (54) is a Dutch citizen with a background in executive management of specialized shipping companies and as a strategic advisor in the maritime and offshore sector.

Board member Diederik Legger said: “We welcome Meindert van Genderen onboard Oceanteam, whose first assignments will include the preparation of the Bondholders Meeting and associated Extraordinary General Meetings: necessary steps in the extensive debt-for-equity swap process. Going forward, other aspects requiring his immediate attention are the appointment of a new auditor, streamlining of the corporate structure and the issue of new equity.”

“Under new leadership, the Company can sail into calmer waters and re-focus on its core businesses and stakeholder values” comments Diederik Legger.

Before joining Oceanteam, Meindert van Genderen MScEng MBA held several executive director positions with leading Dutch shipping companies, among others at NileDutch (liner shipping, 1995-2008)), at Rolldock (specialized heavy-lift, co-founded in 2005) and at MPI Offshore Ltd (offshore wind installation, 2010). He is an expert in innovation and market development on offshore wind and offshore oil & gas. He holds a degree in Naval Architecture from Delft University of Technology, and a MBA from Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University.

To remind, Oceanteam in November last year suspended KPMG’s services, the company’s auditor in Norway citing audit costs that were charged for work not performed.

Halbesmas resign

Earlier this month,  Oceanteam chief executive, Haico Halbesma, co-founder and major shareholder of Oceanteam, who has been leading the company since 2005 offered his resignation amid negative publicity regarding the company’s governance.

“Now the company is ready to accelerate its performances, Oceanteam needs to enter into quieter waters. It will be much easier for a new leadership to make this happen and secure the future of the company in the interest of all our stakeholders,” Haico Halbesma said.

A week after Haico Halbesma’s resignation announcement, his father Hessel Halbesma offered his resignation as Chairman of Oceanteam “to mitigate against further repercussion against the company and to diffuse the misinformation that is circulating currently.”

The Halbesma duo have reportedly been accused of “skimming-off money” by former CFO Torbjorn Skulstad and minor shareholder Roger Nymo. The Halbesma duo has denied any wrongdoing.

In a lengthy letter released last Thursday, Hessel Halbesma accused former CFO Skulstad of colluding with Lex van Doorn – former Managing Director of an Oceanteam business branch – to “perpetuate a massive procurement fraud.”

Procurement fraud

 

Halbesma also revealed a part of a yet to be published forensic investigation report. According to Hessel Halbesma, the report “due to be published” reveals that Lex van Doorn (former MD Oceanteam Solutions) has undertaken a “sophisticated procurement fraud for many millions of euro’s (sic) during the period 2013 to 2016.”

Halbesma also said, citing the forensic report, that company procedures and internal controls within Oceanteam, “under the direct responsibility of our CFO at that time,” had been blatantly disregarded, and that Skulstad as CFO was ultimately culpable to ensure all that all the financial aspects of the company were transparent and indisputable.

“We have identified the most critical forces that have been trying to undermine this beautiful company, As said I now create room for a new leadership that will be able to draft the future of Oceanteam.”

“I understand that I best serve all of the stakeholders by relinquishing my position on the board of the company; a company that I have made a deep financial and emotional investment in maintaining,” he said last week.

 

Van Doorn, Skulstad deny allegations

In an email sent to Offshore Energy Today, Lex van Doorn, has deemed the Halbesmas’ accusations as “libel and slander,” which affect “my name and good honor and will have cost impact on my future.”

He said these allegations were unlawful and not based on facts and it is not determined that Van Doorn committed any fraud.

Van Doorn said his lawyers “have done criminal proceedings against Oceanteam and Halbesma for libel, defamation, insulting language, damage and all offenses that may be considered relevant.”

We have asked Lex van Doorn to provide more details into the allegations. We will update the article, or run a separate one, when and if we get a response from Lex van Doorn.

Torbjørn Skulstad, former CEO also accused of committing fraud by Hessel Halbesma family, told Offshore Energy Today: “Mr. Halbesma is coming with false accusations. From public information, Mr. Halbesma is under investigation from Bergen Tingrett for enrichment of himself on Oceanteam’s behalf.”

 

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