Logitech International has fired its treasurer for investing in debt securities that plummeted in value during the recent credit-market crisis. Even worse, he told company management that they were U.S.-backed securities, when in fact they were not, a Logitech spokesperson told CFO.com.
The Swiss computer peripherals maker said that as a result, it expects to write off between $55 million and $75 million of losses on the investments. The spokesperson said the investments were in structured finance instruments composed of corporate debt and collateralized debt obligations.
In a press release Logitech said, “The Company’s ownership of the specific securities in this portfolio was the result of the unauthorized actions and misrepresentations to management of its treasurer, whose employment has been terminated.”
Also in the release, CFO Mark Hawkins said, “It is very unfortunate that due to unauthorized actions and misrepresentations to management, Logitech has been affected by the current dislocations in the credit markets. Since uncovering the facts in early October, we’ve taken aggressive and swift action to address this isolated incident and prevent the recurrence of a similar situation.” Logitech did not name the treasurer.
Logitech also announced a major shuffling of its top executive ranks. Effective January 1, Guerrino De Luca will become chairman, succeeding company co-founder Daniel Borel, who will remain on the board. Gerald Quindlen, senior vice president of worldwide sales and marketing, will succeed De Luca as president and CEO. DeLuca has served in those roles since 1998.
During De Luca’s tenure the company has grown from $400 million to more than $2 billion in annual revenue, Borel noted. “Logitech is very fortunate to have such a strong team to move the company forward,” said Borel. “For nearly 10 years, Guerrino De Luca has steadily guided the company from $400 million to more than $2 billion in annual revenue.”
The company’s stock surged 19 percent Thursday on the series of news announcements.