Ajax fires CEO Alex Kroes


April 2, 2024
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April 2, 2024

The Dutch record champion’s disastrous season is complete now that the CEO is suspected of insider trading in Ajax shares.

The board of directors of AFC Ajax immediately suspends its CEO, Alex Kroes, and also plans to permanently end the collaboration. This is learned from a press release from the Dutch football team.

The reason is the purchase by Kroes, a week before his proposed appointment was made public on August 2, 2023, of more than 17,000 Ajax shares. According to the statement, after external legal advice it is ‘very likely’ that Kroes abused insider information with the purchase.

Trading on the stock exchange on the basis of information that has not yet been made public is punishable. And then it does not matter whether there is any price reaction when that information is announced later. In the case of Kroes’ appointment, that price reaction on August 2 was virtually non-existent.

This is very bad for the club and everyone who cares about the club.

Michael van Praag

Ajax chairman

“We are very unpleasantly surprised that this is now happening to Ajax, because this is very bad for the club and everyone who cares about the club,” says chairman Michael van Praag. He will temporarily take over some of Kroes’ operational functions again.

In a statement on LinkedIn, Kroes himself said that he had purchased 17,500 additional Ajax shares and that this was done ‘with the best intentions’. ‘As much as I am convinced of my good intentions, I now understand, after consultation with my lawyer, that I did not make the best decision on July 26 due to the appearance of the situation.’

Although I am convinced of my good intentions, I now understand after consultation with my lawyer that I did not make the best decision on July 26.

Kroes is of the opinion that it is up to the stock market watchdog AFM to judge whether there has been insider trading, not up to Ajax’s board of directors. ‘The Supervisory Board (board of directors, ed.) has already ruled that I apparently do not have the ‘right moral compass’. A compass that, conversely, I would have liked to see the Supervisory Board used in recent months. The Supervisory Board, which earlier this week labeled the purchase of the last portion of shares as nothing more than ‘unfortunate’,’ Kroes writes.

As the articles of association of AFC Ajax prescribe, an extraordinary shareholders’ meeting will be convened ‘at short notice’. It will have to formally consider the dismissal of the CEO. The majority of the shares in Ajax, 73 percent, are held by the 700 members of the AFC Ajax Association.

The exit of the CEO is a new setback for the Dutch record champion and European great. The festering administrative crisis comes on top of a sporting disaster season. In the Dutch Eredivisie, Ajax is a long way behind its major rivals PSV and Feyenoord, in fifth place. And the team disappeared last month ingloriously from the smallest European competition, the Conference League, after a heavy defeat at the English Aston Villa.

The article is in Dutch

Tags: Ajax fires CEO Alex Kroes


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