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Valio CEO departs after monster fines

Dairy giant Valio’s CEO has announced his retirement. Pekka Laaksonen retired after the firm, which controls more than 50 percent of the Finnish dairy market, was fined 70 million euros for anti-competitive practices.

Valion toimitusjohtaja Pekka Laaksonen.
Valion toimitusjohtaja Pekka Laaksonen. Image: Yle

Dairy producer Valio suffered a setback last month when it was fined 70 million euros by the competition authority. Now the case appears to have claimed its first victim, as CEO Pekka Laaksonen has announced his retirement at the age of 58.

Valio is now looking to find a new CEO within the firm. Laaksonen will stay with the company during the search, and told Yle that the massive fine had affected his decision.

Valio was sanctioned by the competition authority for under-pricing its milk on the wholesale market between 2010 and 2012 in an effort to force Arla Ingman, its main competitor, to leave the Finnish market.

The competition authority ruled that Valio, which is owned by Finnish milk producers, had abused its dominant position in the fresh milk market and imposed the second-largest fine ever levied in Finland.

The authority had imposed a 100 million euro fine, later reduced on appeal to 83 million euros, in the so-called ‘asphalt cartel’ case. That related to a cartel of construction firms that colluded to ensure municipalities paid over the odds for road maintenance.

The company turns over around two billion euros per year and employs around 4,600 people.

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