Chéserex, Switzerland (June 8, 2004) -- In an effort to put its accounting woes behind it and restore investor confidence, Swiss staffing firm Adecco announced major changes to its board, including the resignation of its chairman.

Chairman John Bowmer will quit at the end of the month, according to published reports. Adecco, which released its first quarter 2004 and long-awaited full 2003 results on Friday, is still under investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission, the U.S. Attorney, the SWX Swiss Exchange and the Swiss Federal Banking Commission, and faces shareholder lawsuits in the U.S.

Bowmer will stay on as a consultant past the June 29 annual general meeting to help the company deal with investigations, Reuters reported.

Adecco also proposed several candidates proposed for its board, including KPMG Switzerland chief executive Jakob Baer; Jürgen Dormann, CEO and chairman of the board of ABB; Francis Mer, former finance minister of France; Bell Canada Enterprises board member and audit committee chair Thomas O'Neill; and Coca Cola Co. board member Peter Ueberroth.

The company delayed the release of its 2003 results in January, when it disclosed that it had found major control weaknesses in its North American operations and said it would restate its earnings for the first three quarters of 2003. However, the company announced last week that an independent investigation conducted by New York law firm Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison "uncovered no evidence of misappropriations or irregularities that would be financially significant to the group" and said it would not need to restate its results.

The audit delay cost the firm 100 million euros.

"We have not lost any major clients due to the recent events -- in fact, we actually succeeded in growing our client base further in the quarter," said chief executive Jerome Caille.

-- WebCPA staff


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