Cheserex, Switzerland (July 1, 2004) -- Scandal-plagued Swiss staffing firm Adecco SA this week replaced most of its board of directors and named new co-chairmen.


At the company's annual meeting in Lausanne this week, shareholders elected several new board members, including KPMG Switzerland chief executive Jakob Baer; ABB CEO and chairman of the board Jürgen Dormann; former French finance minister Francis Mer; former PwC Consulting chairman Thomas O'Neill; David Prince; and Peter Ueberroth. Former board member Philippe Marcel remains on the board.


Klaus Jacobs and Philippe Foriel-Destezet, Adecco co-founders who served as joint chairmen of the board from 1996 to 2002, were elected co-chairmen. They replace John Bowmer, who stepped down.


The staffing firm is dealing with inquiries from several regulatory agencies relating to its announcement back in January that it would delay reporting its 2003 financial results after it identified material weaknesses in its North America unit’s internal controls.


The company said in May that its independent investigation into the issue "uncovered no evidence of misappropriations or irregularities that would be financially significant to the group" and said it wouldn't need to restate its results.


In a filing earlier this week with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Adecco noted that the U.S. Department of Justice issued a grand jury subpoena for a "variety" of its books and records. Adecco said its response to the subpoena has been delayed by agreement while it provides information to the SEC, which is conducting an informal inquiry into the events leading up to the delay.


The June 28 filing also noted that eight class-action lawsuits have been filed by U.S. shareholders against Adecco and some of its current and former directors stemming from the January announcement.


The filing also noted that the Swiss Stock Exchange is investigating it for possible violations of rules on ad hoc publicity, and that the Swiss Federal Banking Commission is investigating trading in Adecco Group securities that occurred before the January announcement. The company said it is cooperating with all of the probes.


-- WebCPA staff

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