September 18, 2018 / 12:11 PM / a year ago

CEO of Malaysian palm producer FGV resigns after suspension

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 18 (Reuters) - The chief executive of Malaysia’s FGV Holdings, the world’s largest producer of crude palm oil, resigned on Tuesday following his suspension in the wake of an internal investigation.

In a filing to the local stock exchange in the evening, FGV’s board of directors said the company will carry on its business as usual, and that four of its directors will “continue to perform the functions of the group president and chief executive officer of FGV”.

FGV said last month it had begun an internal investigation following “adverse findings” from an earlier probe into its investments.

Chairman Wira Azhar Abdul Hamid told a press conference the company was investigating some members of its board and management in an inquiry into its business practices, but he did not identify the individuals concerned.

It suspended its chief executive Zakaria Arshad last week after wrapping up the investigation.

The probe, which examined open credit lines, poor purchasing trading practices and palm oil sales, direct awards of procurement contracts and a shortage of workers that resulted in financial losses, was initiated following an earlier investigation of the company’s investments.

That original probe is still ongoing, the company said. “The forensic investigation ... shall continue and is expected to be concluded by this year end,” it said in its Tuesday evening statement.

Zakaria had already been suspended once in October last year for four months as the company, in a separate action, investigated transactions at a subsidiary.

His departure would mark FGV’s third change of its chief executive position since its initial public offering in 2012. FGV’s shares have lost about 70 percent since then, hit by investor and analyst allegations of poor management. (Reporting by Emily Chow; Editing by Jan Harvey)

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