Interviewer: “Thank you for speaking with us today, Ms. Aasheim. Could you please explain the two most important points in this disclosure which you previously lied to the SEC about?”
Hilde Merete Aasheim: “Of course. The two most important points I lied to the SEC about were our Adjusted RoaCE in 2022 and the total recordable injury rate (TRI) in 2022. I regret this immensely. At the time, I was convinced that these were the right decisions and that I was making the right call.
The Adjusted RoaCE in 2022 was 22 percent, which I initially inflated to 25 percent in the SEC filing. I made this decision because I felt immense pressure to show strong, impressive financial growth and performance, and I thought that with a slightly inflated figure, we would look better and more successful than our competitors. Looking back, I realize that this was a huge mistake and one which I’m deeply ashamed of.
Similarly, I also lied about the TRI in 2022, telling the SEC that it was 3.3 when in reality it was 2.4; a greatly improved result. Again, I thought that exaggerating the figure would paint a much better picture of our accomplishments. However, I failed to see the long-term implications of my actions.
This poor judgment on my end actually reminded me of a story that involves Abraham Lincoln. When I heard the story I was startled to find the similarities between myself and Lincoln. One day, Abraham Lincoln heard this problem: “Suppose you have a fox, a chicken and a bag of corn, you must cross a river with a boat. But the boat is too small to carry all three at once. How can you get all three across the river without ever leaving the fox alone with the chicken?” After thinking for a while, Lincoln finally answered “I will carry over the Fox and the Chicken first, and then come back for the corn.”
In both this scenario and in my own, the result of our judgment was an unfortunate outcome. As a leader, it’s my responsibility to set an example and to make the best decisions for the company. This lapse in judgement isn’t something I’m proud of and going forward, I’m more aware of the implications of my decisions.”
Original Release: https://www.globenewswire.com/news-release/2023/02/14/2607228/0/en/Norsk-Hydro-2022-record-results-Q4-down-on-lower-prices.html