Bumi chief executive Nick von Schirnding has become embroiled in a row over his qualifications after changing his biography on the coal miner’s website.
The assertion that “Nick is a qualified lawyer and also holds an accounting qualification”, which had been repeated in two Stock Exchange announcements, was changed this week to state merely that: “Nick holds a BALLB law degree.”
The move prompted an angry response from financier Nat Rothschild. He had written last week to Sir Julian Horn-Smith, head of Bumi’s nominations committee, questioning whether Mr von Schirnding had “embellished his academic credentials”. Yesterday, he called for both men to resign immediately.
“Horn-Smith’s surreptitious rewriting of the von Schirnding biography is proof that the board realises that investors were misled,” Mr Rothschild claimed.
Mr von Schirnding hit back, saying that he had studied law for five years at the University of Cape Town, after which he had acted as a prosecutor for two years in military courts during national service in South Africa. “I sent a lot of people down to jail,” he said, adding: “What Nat’s saying is just twaddle.”
Sir Julian said he was “entirely satisfied with Nick’s performance and qualifications,” adding he had studied accounting to Bachelor of Commerce level.