21 Nov 2006

Fiji hardwood sacks CEO amid financial woes

10:45 am on 21 November 2006

The board of the mostly state-owned Fiji Hardwood Corporation has relieved its chief executive officer, Adrian Hazelman, of his duties amid renewed financial woes.

The company, which is responsible for the harvest of Fiji's rich mahogany plantations, is almost 5-million US dollars in the red and has had all its heavy machinery and logging equipment seized by a finance company.

Fiji TV reports that as the government prepares its second rescue plan for Fiji Hardwood in two years, the board has sacked the chief executive and hired a Sri Lankan finance controller to review its operations.

Despite Fiji's rich mahogany resources, Fiji Hardwood has been in trouble since 1999 when its then chairman, George Speight, was sacked by the Labour coalition government which many believe led to the coup in May of the following year.

The company's previous chief executive, who was from New Zealand, left after less than a year into the job.