Kathleen Van Beveren, chief executive of E-logistics Eurasia at Belgian postal giant Bpost and a member of its executive committee, is stepping down from her role amid accusations of fraud and foul play inside the company.
On August 7, Bpost announced that Van Beveren was resigning. “Following the compliance review relating to [the tender for] the concession for the distribution of newspapers and periodicals in Belgium launched in 2022, Bpostgroup voluntarily extended the review to other tenders and public contracts earlier this year,” the company stated in a press release.
While the investigation is in its final stages, “the Board of Directors and Kathleen Van Beveren have decided to mutually terminate their cooperation”, Bpost added. Her profile was immediately removed from the company’s website.
“Bpostgroup and Mrs Kathleen Van Beveren agreed that the ongoing compliance review within Bpost is impacting her role as CEO E-Logistics Eurasia,” it added. There is no suggestion of wrongdoing by Van Beveren herself.
Before the announcement, Van Beveren was responsible for major customers, acting as Bpost’s Director Business Customers and Solutions. She had worked at the firm since 2007.
With the executive board now reduced from seven to six members, Philippe Dartienne, Bpost’s interim CEO will assume the responsibilities of CEO E-Logistics Eurasia.
Referring to Van Beren’s departure, Bpost chairman Audrey Hanard said: “We are determined to defend the values dear to Bpost and its employees and to build the future of Bpostgroup on solid foundations.
“We are being very thorough in our examination and leave nothing unexamined, while also cooperating with the competent authorities.
“We have full confidence in the 37,000 employees of Bpostgroup, who are motivated to serve our customers day after day and to deliver excellent service, as usual,” Hanard concluded.
Van Beren’s stepping down marks the fourth departure at the top of the publicly-traded company, with former CEO Dirk Tirez leaving in December 2022 after allegations of illegal tenders for the distribution of newspapers and magazines. Two other directors also quit. There is no suggestion that Tirez or the other directors have committed a crime.
Bpost is accused of having entered into spurious contracts with the Belgian Government, overstating costs for delivering newspapers to receive elevated subsidies and a host of other allegedly fraudulent operations.
The sums involved are said to run into the hundreds of millions of euros and independent audits and investigations are ongoing.