An external investigation into financial practices at Swiss Post subsidiary PostBus has revealed that accounts had been manipulated and profits systematically concealed in order to collect excess subsidies.
Led by law firm Kellerhals Carrard, the investigation looked into financial documents held between 2007 and 2015 and found several irregular accounting practices.
As a result, the Swiss Post board of directors has decided to dismiss all members of the PostBus executive board due to its lack of confidence in them. Post Bus CEO Susanne Ruoff has also tendered her resignation.
Urs Schwaller, chairman of the board, Swiss Post, said, “I am shocked at the energy PostBus placed into manipulating its accounting and systematically concealing profits in order to collect excess subsidies. The Confederation, cantons, taxpayers and business partners have all been deceived.
“It is alarming to realize that all the control mechanisms in place at Swiss Post Group clearly failed to do their job for years. These practices, which took place over a number of years, evidently caused the collective awareness of what is legal to be lost.”
In response, the Swiss Post board of directors has laid out plans for several operational and personnel-related measures, including the complete reorganization of the PostBus business, a new compliance program, a compensation package to be paid to the injured parties, and the implementation of several changes to the internal audit procedures.
“This is only the very beginning,” added Schwaller. “It represents the starting point of a long journey toward a new management culture in all group units, based on honesty, openness and trust.
“The fact that misconduct of this kind became established in the first place, and that it was made possible by everyone up to highest management levels, is incompatible with a healthy corporate culture.”
The inquiry report and expert evaluation have been made available to the public with immediate effect.