Published On: Mon, Dec 4th, 2023

Culture at GEBE is unhealthy, Integrity Chamber says

PHILIPSBURG — The company culture at utilities company GEBE is unhealthy due to a lack of communication between management and employees, the Integrity Chamber concludes after investigation the situation at GEBE. The Chamber also found that political influence negatively influences the composition of GEBE’s supervisory and management board.

Related article: Integrity Chamber Completes Investigation into N.V. GEBE

The Chamber advises to prevent political influence by creating and publicizing profiles for the managing and supervisory board members based on the required background and experience and by ensuring a transparent and accountable process and selection of candidates.

The investigation covered the years 2017-2022 and focused on the responsibilities of the managing board, the supervisory board and the shareholder.

The conclusion of the investigation does not paint a pretty picture; “There is a general lack of compliance with integrity-related rules and procedures.”

In a press release, the Integrity Chamber states that several policies and procedures are missing or not implemented, such as a code of conduct, complaint procedures and a confidentiality policy.

That the company’s leadership does not comply with existing policies and procedures is, according to the press release, “due to a lack of awareness.”

Another problem is the selection of managing and supervisory board members. There is insufficient regard for the specific expertise and qualities that are needed to manage the responsibilities associated with these functions. The press release does not mention this, but the selection-issue is most likely related to political influence over appointments and to unjust influence from the shareholder – the government.

The shortcomings the Integrity Chamber found have contribute to administrative misconduct such as undesirable behavior, abuse of authority and leaking confidential information.

Apart from its suggestion to prevent political influence, the Chamber made three additional recommendations. The first one is to develop and implement missing policies such as managing and supervisory board regulations, a code of conduct and company complaint procedures. Secondly, the Chamber recommends enforcing compliance with this legislative framework by appointing a compliance officer. This person will have the authority to ensure compliance within the company on all levels and to apply sanctions for non-compliance. Thirdly, the Chamber suggests the creation of a healthy company culture. Part of such an initiative would be the establishment of company norms and values, facilitating employee training, promoting open communication and appointing a confidential advisor.


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