Morning Briefing – Thursday, August 22

The Copenhagen Post’s daily digest of what the Danish press is reporting

Latest business fad: firing the CEO
The firing in recent weeks of chief executives from Vestas, Coop and NKT are a part of larger global trend that has seen 375 heads of the world’s 2,500 largest publicly traded companies lose their jobs, according to the consultancy firm Booz & Company. The figure is the highest since 2000. Other recent studies also seemed to confirm the trend by concluding that the length of time a company’s top executive stays in the job has declined. But that may not be such bad news for the company, according to Flemming Poulfelt of the Copenhagen Business School. His research has found that a chief executive’s performance declines the longer he has been with the company.  – Erhverv & Økonomi

Vestas flying high with investors
Wind turbine maker Vestas appears to be back in investors’ good graces after the company fired chief executive Ditlev Engel. The company, which is still seeking to regain its footing after a sharp decline in business during the recession, saw its shares rise by over five percent yesterday. Analysts and institutional investors said they were satisfied with the news that Anders Runevad would take over at the helm, and that his focus, according to chairman Bert Nordberg, would be on helping distance Vestas from its main rival, GE. Both companies have a 20 percent market share. When Engel became chief executive in 2005, Vestas had a market share of 35 percent. – Børsen

Opposition to government: repay excess taxes
Property owners assessed too much in tax should be reimbursed for the extra amount they have paid, according to a majority in parliament. Tax officials were heavily criticised yesterday for shoddy assessment practices that have seen as many as three out of four properties incorrectly valued since 2003. In some 41 percent of all assessments, the properties were overvalued. For many of the affected owners, the deadline for appealing a tax assessment has passed, but the parties calling for compensation to be paid, none of which are members of the minority coalition government, want people to be able to appeal, regardless of when the assessment took place. The tax minister, Holger K Nielsen (Socialistisk Folkeparti), said doing so would require a law change, and that he had set up a committee to look into the ministry’s options. – Berlingske

Jockeying before the storm
With less than three months until local elections, Copenhagen’s Socialdemokraterne have found themselves looking replace one of their top candidates. Anne Vang, the deputy mayor for child and youth affairs, announced yesterday she was stepping down to take a position at business college Niels Brock. Mayor Frank Jensen said Jesper Christensen, the highest ranking Socialdemokrat serving on the council, would be a “natural choice” to replace Vang. Christensen, who is the only other member of Socialdemokraterne sitting on the child and youth committee, said he was considering his options. A number of other party members said they would be interested in the position. – Politiken

Higher prices means fewer smokers
Raising the price of cigarettes further would dramatically and quickly reduce the number of smokers, a study from SIF, a public health research institute, has found. A million Danes smoke at least one cigarette a day, but that number would fall by 80,000 by 2016 if the price of tobacco were to be increased 50 percent in both 2014 and 2015, the study found. The increase would result in a pack of cigarettes costing 57 kroner. The Danish Heart Association, which sponsored the study, said it would welcome any effort to reduce smoking.  – DR Nyheder