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Vestas board upheaval continues

Latest departures at Vestas follow the exit 24 hours earlier of both the chief financial officer and the deputy chief executive

A massive sweep out of senior executives at Vestas, the world’s biggest maker of wind turbines, was underway on Wednesday with the chairman and deputy chairman saying they would not stand for re-election at the forthcoming annual general meeting.

The departures follow the exit 24 hours earlier of both the chief financial officer and the deputy chief executive, leaving chief executive, Ditlev Engels, as one of the few board members still standing.

The Danish company, which has a research and development base on the Isle of Wight and planned to build a new factory at Sheerness in Kent, has record order levels of 9,550MW of turbine capacity worth almost €10bn (£8.33bn). But it has also just recorded a larger than expected net loss in 2011 and has warned it may not be profitable in 2012.

Vestas has been hit by low-cost competition from China and uncertainty over European subsidy levels but has also continually failed to meet its own internal targets with cost overruns and operational failures.

Hundreds of jobs have been cut and some factories closed and there have been calls for Engels also to fall on his sword. The closure of a production plant on the Isle of Wight in 2009 was badly handled, leading to an occupation by British workers and a stream of political criticism.

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