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Norway’s Opera Software reshuffles board after power struggle

Key shareholders in Opera Software ASA have reshuffled the board of directors after a reported power struggle between board members and the company’s chief executive and founder, Jon S. von Tetzchner.

Five of the seven board members, including chairman Nils A. Foldal, were fired at a shareholder’s meeting Thursday, company spokesman Tor Odland said.

They were replaced by three new board members, and the total number of board members was reduced to five.

Norwegian business daily Dagens Naeringsliv reported that the move came after the ousted board members failed to remove Tetzchner as head of the company, which makes Web browsers for mobile phones and personal digital assistants.

The paper reported that the board was growing impatient with Tetzchner because of the company’s poor performance – the share price has dropped more than 50 percent in the past year.

The chief executive declined to comment on the power struggle but told Dagens Naeringsliv he had no plans to step down.

”I feel that I have an important job for the company, shareholders and the board,” Tetzchner was quoted as saying.

The board reshuffle was backed by shareholders holding 80 percent of the company’s shares, including Tetzchner, who holds a 15 percent stake through the investment group Amadeus Invest II AS.

William J. Raduchel, a former senior vice president and chief technology officer at AOL Time Warner, was appointed as the new chairman.

Opera Software shares were up 7 percent at 15.40 kroner (euro1.92; US$2.57) Friday afternoon in Oslo.

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