KredEx chief Lehar Kütt resigns

Lehar Kütt.
Lehar Kütt. Source: ERR

Lehar Kütt has stepped down as management board chair of state credit body KredEX. Kütt's last day in office is October 4.

"In recent months, it has become difficult for me to continue due to different views on the role and operating principles of KredEx," Kütt said of his decision, via a press release. 

"As a result, I had to make a difficult decision, one which is also true to myself and the whole organization. So now I think it is time to step down," Kütt, who has submitted his resignation to KredEx's supervisory board, went on.  

KredEx's profile has been high since the coronavirus pandemic began in spring, when it started to offer emergency crisis support, 

Over €250 million has been granted to companies in economic difficulties since the pandemic began, alongside its more regular services. 

High profile KredEx aid during the pandemic include the €100 million-loan granted to shipping line Tallink in May, and a  €37-million loan to fuel company Alexela Grupp in July. 

Minister of Economic Affairs and Infrastructure Taavi Aas (Center) told ERR Wednesday that he would have hoped for faster action from KredEx during the crisis, but qualified his statement by saying the organization could not always in any case be ready for those tasks, as a required, dedicated team and procedures had not been in place.   

In his resignation announcement, Kütt, who joined the organization in 2008, becoming board chair in 2015, said KredEx has worked hard with business in providing appropriate and efficient guarantees, loans, credit insurance, private and venture capital investments, housing subsidies and energy efficiency expertise, and that the organization had stepped up to the plate adequately on his watch, during the pandemic. 

"At the same time, the rapid implementation of crisis measures necessitated by the coronavirus pandemic in particular demonstrated that our team is professional and that we react quickly to changing circumstances," he said. 

Chair of KredEx Supervisory Board Ando Leppiman praised Kütt's role in leading an organization which makes a strong contribution to the recovery of the Estonian economy, as well as the improvement of the living conditions of the population, noting that the body's role has become more prominent down the years, both in normal economic circumstances and in crises. 

Leppiman said that KredEx was starting to look for a successor to Kütt, with a public competitive process due to be launched soon, adding that he understood the latter's decision to leave at this time. 

KredEx main function is to support the growth of the international competitiveness of Estonian companies and living standards in Estonia,  and it has become a significant player in the development of the Estonian capital market and as a key link between Estonian financial institutions and loan applicants, exporters and foreign buyers, as well as investors and entrepreneurs. 

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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