Wiese’s resignation as board chairperson further indicates troubled waters at Steinhoff

Troubled waters. Christo Wiese tendered his resignation as chairperson for the troubled Steinhoff. He follows in the steps of CE Markus Jooste who resigned amid the company’s crash this week.

A media invitation states that Gigaba is meeting with the CEO Initiative‚ Manufacturing Circle‚ Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE)‚ Government Employees Pension Fund (GEPF)‚ Public Investment Corporation (PIC)‚ South African Revenue Service (SARS)‚ Financial Service Board (FSB)‚ and the Independent Regulatory Board for Auditors (IRBA) on Friday in Sandton‚ Johannesburg.

The GEPF and PIC said on Wednesday they are “deeply concerned” about the collapse of Steinhoff and believe it points to “serious governance challenges”.

“The GEPF and PIC believe that now‚ more than ever‚ the Steinhoff matter makes a case for the need to rotate auditors and long-serving board members in investee companies‚ an issue that the PIC has continuously raised.”

Steinhoff’s share price dropped from R46.60 at close of trading on Tuesday last week to just R6 on Friday. The company has reported a missing R100-billion in their European operations.

Markus Jooste resigned as the CEO of Steinhoff.

The GEPF and PIC want Steinhoff and Steinhoff Africa Retail (STAR) to appoint at least two independent non-executive directors on their boards. They also want to highlight “their discomfort with the lack of independence of the Board”.

“The PIC has previously pointed out structural issues relating to the material shareholding of the Steinhoff and (Christo) Wiese families‚ which are perceived to create the dominance of controlling shareholder representatives on the Board and‚ as a result‚ potential conflicts of interest.”

The Department of Trade and Industry (dti) and the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission (CIPC) announced on Tuesday they plan to launch an investigation into allegations of non-compliance by Steinhoff with the Companies Act and its regulations.

Meanwhile, South African tycoon Christo Wiese resigned on Thursday as chairperson of Steinhoff , the latest setback for the retail group in the throes of an accounting scandal, reports Sydney Morweng- news editor.

Wiese has been chairperson since last year and a board member since 2013.

He owns about 22% of the company, the stake he built in 2014 when he sold his clothing retailer Pepkor to Steinhoff via a combination of cash and shares.

Steinhoff named Heather Anne Sonn, a member of the supervisory board and its independent sub-committee, as acting chairperson.

Wiese’s son Jacob had also resigned from the board.


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