ENSCHEDE, Netherlands — Sudhir Gupta, chairman and "architect" of Amtel-Vredestein N.V., has resigned his positions as chairman and a director of the company "to pursue other business interests," he said.
Amtel-Vredestein Vice Chairman Maxim Ignatiev has been named acting chairman alongside CEO Petr Zolotarev, who has been in that position for 10 weeks.
Gupta´s resignation brings to six the number of senior management and directors who have left the company in recent months.
Tariq Chaudri, another member of the supervisory board, also resigned as a director effective Sept. 4.
Ignatiev confirmed the supervisory board will seek suitable candidates to fill the board vacancies, adding, "We do not expect any significant interruption to the operation of the supervisory board and its committees, and we look forward to welcoming new independent directors to our ranks."
Zolotarev joined Amtel-Vredestein July 1. He previously was vice president of finance for CJSC Yukos Refining and Marketing.
Gupta sold 12.6 million shares of company stock he owned in July and August at prices ranging from $4 a share to $5.68 a share, reducing his ownership stake to 10.8 percent. He also has notified the company that he may sell additional shares.
Amtel-Vredestein has a two-tiered board structure whereby a supervisory board made up of nonexecutive directors oversees an executive board comprising the company´s management team. The executive board makes the day-to-day decisions that direct the company´s business units, while the supervisory board provides guidance and oversight, supervises the management of the company and approves certain major policies and strategies.
In addition to these two resignations, former CEO Alexei Gurin and Sergei Bokhanov, former chief operating officers, both left in June, while Rob Oudshoorn and Ton Tholens, CEO and chief financial officer, respectively, of Vredestein Banden B.V., stepped down in March.
The resignations come as the company struggles to sell operations and raise new capital in order to recover from large debts built up during an ambitious expansion phase.
"We have a positive outlook for 2007, and we believe that sales will grow at a faster rate than in 2006 — primarily in our key passenger car tire business, but also in our new retail and distribution business," the firm said.
Amtel-Vredestein projects 2007 sales should hit or exceed $1 billion with pre-tax earnings amounting to $120 million to $130 million. The company will announce its six-month results Sept. 19.