October 28, 2019 / 7:57 AM / 25 days ago

UPDATE 1-Ferrexpo's Zhevago to step aside as CEO to resolve Ukraine issues

(Adds chairman comment, background)

Oct 28 (Reuters) - Iron ore pellets producer Ferrexpo said on Monday its Chief Executive Officer Kostyantin Zhevago would “temporarily” step aside to resolve matters relating to one of his former businesses in Ukraine.

“This temporary change of leadership is necessary and in the interests of all shareholders to enable Mr Zhevago to focus on on-going matters in Ukraine without impacting the Company’s operations,” Non-executive Chairman Steve Lucas said, adding that Zhevago continues to have the full support of the Board.

The Switzerland-based company, which has major assets in Ukraine, said the matters the Ukrainian billionaire was trying to resolve related to one of the businesses he owned until 2015, but did not elaborate.

Ukraine’s state prosecutor office said last month that Zhevago had been called for questioning as a suspect.

However, earlier this month the company said its CEO had not been served with any notices and that he denied all allegations of wrongdoing.

The move comes just months after the company said funds it had donated to an Ukrainian charity, which coordinated Ferrexpo’s Corporate Social Responsibility programme, may have been misappropriated.

Zhevago, who owns the majority of the Ferrexpo with more than a 50% stake, will remain on the board as a non-independent, non-executive director, the company said. Finance chief Chris Mawe would take over as acting CEO with immediate effect, it said. (Reporting by Yadarisa Shabong and Pushkala Aripaka in Bengaluru Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty and Tomasz Janowski)

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