The stricken gas importer Uniper has announced the departure of its chief executive Klaus-Dieter Maubach, the biggest casualty of a management shake-up after a multibillion-euro bailout of the company by the German government.
Maubach, who has served as chief since 2021, said it was “the right time to clear the way for a new management board team” as the energy company grapples with the fallout from Russian president Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.
The company said Maubach would continue in his role until a replacement was appointed some time this year.
Uniper, once Europe’s largest importer of Russian gas, reported a €40bn loss for the first nine months of 2022, one of the biggest in corporate history.
Fearing that a collapse in the company would send shockwaves through the economy, the German government agreed to buy Uniper from the Finnish energy group Fortum in a bailout set to cost as much as €51bn.
Maubach was as recently as May last year defending Gazprom as a reliable supplier of gas to Europe. But his company began to lose tens of millions of euros a day after the Russian state-owned gas exporter drastically reduced supplies to Germany through the Nord Stream 1 pipeline in mid-June.
“That, in hindsight, maybe it was even a mistake to think that gas would not be used,” he said in an interview with CNBC in September. “Maybe it was just wishful thinking.”