On Thursday morning, Matthias Brückmann, the chief executive of Germany’s fifth-largest utility EWE, had already heard that he had been fired. But he had not heard about it from his employers. The news had come to him via the German media.
It was everywhere – on the radio, TV and online. He was unemployed. Mr. Brückmann says he was stunned. Then two staff members bought him a stack of papers: His dismissal.
Handelsblatt spoke to Mr. Brückmann shortly after those termination papers arrived. He said he was planning to sue the company because his dismissal as a member of the board and chief executive officer, as well as the termination of his employment contract, were unjustified.
“As far as I am concerned, there was no breach of duty. That’s why I am absolutely confident that a court will establish that my dismissal was wrongful,” he said.
EWE’s supervisory board unanimously decided to fire Mr. Brückmann after a report by auditors KPMG found evidence of financial irregularities including a failure to follow company procedures in donating €253,000 ($267,000) to the Klitschko Foundation, set up by the superstar boxers Vitaly and Vladimir Klitschko.
There’s been talk of a dereliction of duty, but Mr. Brückmann contends the allegations against him seek to misrepresent normal, every day business transactions in order to oust him.