Wonderful Copenhagen CEO fired due to ESC spending scandal
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COPENHAGEN, DENMARK – Wonderful Copenhagen’s CEO for the past 20 years was fired as the tourist organization attempts to restore the public’s confidence following its Eurovision spending scandal. The tourist organization Wonderful Copenhagen on Tuesday fired its CEO as the fallout from the second most expensive Eurovision song contest ever continues.
Wonderful Copenhagen announced that Lars Bernhard Jørgensen, who had sat at the head of the tourist organisation for 20 years, will be removed from his position as soon as a replacement can be found. The group also said that nine of its ten board members would be willing to give up their seats. In an official statement, Wonderful Copenhagen positioned the moves as “a generational shift”.
“Lars Bernhard Jørgensen and I have decided to initiate a renewal process at Wonderful Copenhagen with the concrete objective of finding a new CEO who can form and lead Wonderful Copenhagen in its future work,” the organization’s chairman of the board, Peter Højland, said.
Speaking to Ritzau, Højland said the move was necessary “in order to reestablish the reputation of Wonderful Copenhagen and restore legitimacy and trust in the organisation”. Almost since the conclusion of the Eurovision Song Contest in May, both Wonderful Copenhagen and broadcaster DR have been under heavy criticism for widely overshooting their budgets to put on the singing contest in Copenhagen’s B&W Hallerne, former shipyards rebuilt explicitly for the purpose of hosting the show.
The total cost of May’s Eurovision contest in Copenhagen was 334 million kroner ($56.7 million). That made the Copenhagen show the second most expensive in Eurovision history, behind the 446 million kroner spent by Azerbaijan in 2011. The extravagance dwarfs that of the Eurovision put on the year before across the bridge in Malmö, where just 125 million kroner was spent on the televised singing contest.
Projektselskabet, a temporary company created by Wonderful Copenhagen to put on the Eurovision bonanza, completely overshot its initial budget of 34.6 million and ended up spending 137 million kroner on the show – a whopping 100 million kroner more. Wonderful Copenhagen was also accused of vastly overstating the song contest’s impact on local tourism.
Jørgensen’s was not the first head to roll in the spending scandal. Wonderful Copenhagen’s chairman of the board, Michael Metz-Mørch, stepped down in August.