Trond Giske, who was replaced as Norway’s trade minister this week when the new conservative government assumed power, had a final bit of unfinished business to attend to. Before leaving office, he sent a sharp letter to the board of fish farming company Cermaq, blasting bonus payments made to top executives in connection with a divestiture.
Giske, from the Labour Party, concluded that the ministry should have been told about the bonuses, since the state owns nearly 60 percent of Cermaq. It wasn’t until after they’d been paid that Giske learned executives were pocketing six-months worth of pay in addition to another bonus, for selling off fish-feed firm Ewos. The extra bonus to six executives amounted to NOK 7 million.
It took Giske three months to formulate his reaction to the bonus payments, which was anything but positive. He wrote, among other things, that he was unhappy his ministry hadn’t been informed of the bonuses and that they collided with the state’s views, which want to restrain executive pay.
Asked why it took him so long to respond to Cermaq, Giske said he’d been busy with the election campaign and had been traveling. “But it was important for me to say what I think, while I’m still minister,” he told newspaper Dagens Næringsliv (DN).
Now it will be up to his successor, Monica Mæland of the Conservatives, to follow up. Cermaq’s chairman said the board would take Giske’s objections under advisement.