Andriy Kobolyev / Photo from UNIAN

Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal says the termination of powers of members of the Supervisory Board of National Joint-Stock Company Naftogaz of Ukraine, as well as the dismissal of Chairman of the Board Andriy Kobolyev did not affect negotiations with Ukraine's international partners.

Read alsoNaftogaz Executive Board calls on Cabinet to resolve issues regarding Supervisory BoardHe made the comment during an interview with the RBC Ukraine news agency on May 10.

"Creditors and our partners may be affected by decisions that will break the principles of corporate reform, as well as other reforms that are being implemented in Ukraine. We had no intention to break a single principle of corporate reform and are not going to break it," he said.

The prime minister stressed that Western partners were more concerned with the continuation and completion of the reform in the field of justice, the anti-corruption system, namely the National Anti-corruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU) and the National Agency on Corruption Prevention (NACP), and other anti-corruption legislation. Shmyhal believes that the third or fourth priority is the development of corporate governance reform, but in conjunction with a large-scale privatization campaign, and other reforms.

"Both Kobolyev and [Yuriy] Vitrenko [newly appointed Chairman of the Board] are perceived by Western partners as top managers and reformers. Our partners' literal phrase is as follows: the surname does not matter," he stressed.

Kobolyev's dismissal

  • On April 28, 2021, Ukraine's Cabinet of Ministers terminated the powers of members of the Supervisory Board of NJSC Naftogaz of Ukraine, as well as Chairman of the Board Andriy Kobolyev, while appointing Yuriy Vitrenko to that post. The move followed consideration of the company's annual report for 2020. Last year, Naftogaz saw UAH 19 billion (US$684.4 million) in net losses, with the profit target set at UAH 11.5 billion (US$414.3 million).
  • Following the general meeting of shareholders, the performance of the Supervisory Board and the Board of NJSC Naftogaz of Ukraine in 2020 was recognized as "unsatisfactory."
  • In turn, Naftogaz said the decision was a legal manipulation and a violation of the basic principles of corporate governance.
  • On April 29, 2021, the company's press service said Kobolyev would challenge his dismissal.
  • On April 30, 2021, the Cabinet named the cause behind the decision to fire Kobolyev.
  • The Naftogaz Supervisory Board expressed disagreement with the government's decision to dismiss Kobolyev, saying this would lead to negative consequences for the company and for Ukraine as a whole.