LafargeHolcim is a big name in the cement manufacturing sector which has its presence in more than 90 countries with employee strength of 115,000 employees across the globe. News circulated across all media channels about acceptance by LafargeHolcim of paying protection money to the Army groups to keep their operations active in the Northern Syria plant at Jalabiya. Also, an announcement was made about Eric Olsen, the chief executive officer leaving the company in July. Both these news were announced during a conference on Monday. Although Eric Olsen was given a clean chit from the internal inquiry committee of the company in the bribery case stating that he wasn’t aware of any such activity under his supervision.
Olson was appointed as the Chief Executive officer after the merger of the Lafarge and Holcim which had combined net sales revenue of CHF 33 billion during the merger. Lafarge and Holcim merged with an intention to save$1.9 billion annually and become the largest producer of cement in the world. Olsen who has a dual citizenship for both France and the US said that he was not aware of any unethical or illegal activity been executed under his supervision and he himself didn’t initiate or supported any such activity. In fact, he expects that his exit would provide the company with the stability that the company is missing currently.
After the disclosure of this unethical and illegal activity was unveiled by the internal committee, two human rights group filed a case against Lafarge of actively involved in funding the war activities and supporting financially to the Islamic states. According to the spokesperson at Lafarge, the company has invested heavily in the setup and it cost than $680 million. The employees deployed at the Syrian local employees and the management considered this as their moral responsibility to keep the plant working at the cost of giving protection money to the army people.
LafargeHolcim has seen a lot of management changes after the merger and has been very strict in relation to the corporate governance policies of the company. Beat Hess would handle the responsibilities of Eric Olsen after the departure as an Interim CEO. Jacob Waerness, A risk manager of Lafarge accepted that they company was very well aware of the critical situations and Syria and should have left the company in mid-2013 when the Islamic radicalism group tried to capture the area surrounding the cement company. But the Syrian Government and Kurdish military group wanted the plant to be active and operating.
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