Eyebrows raised as Niveus CEO and CFO resign together
Shareholders may be a little unsettled by the latest highly unusual development in the HCI subsidiary
The resignation of a CEO is an unusual occurrence for a listed company. Also unusual is the resignation of the chief financial officer. So when a listed company announces the resignation of both the CEO and the chief financial officer on the same day it is inclined to set off a few alarm bells.Late on Tuesday Niveus Investments issued a SENS statement announcing the resignations of CEO Muriel Loftie-Eaton, with effect from August 1 and chief financial officer Carolyn Kristal, with effect from July 1. No explanation was given; all that was said was that almost obligatory chilling statement: “The board would like to thank Muriel and Carolyn for their valuable contribution to the company and wishes them well in their future endeavours.”
Niveus, which holds 100% of Vukani Gaming and Galaxy Bingo and 57% of La Concorde, is 52% held by Johnny Copelyn’s HCI. Loftie-Eaton and Kristal were also CEO and chief financial officer, respectively, of wine and spirits producer La Concorde (formerly known as KWV).
La Concorde was in the news recently when the High Court ruled in favour of shareholder activist Albie Cilliers in his long battle to get paid out for the KWV shares he relinquished back in 2016.
Yunis Shaik, a non-executive director of Niveus, has been appointed to take over the CEO slot from Loftie-Eaton. And Cisco Pereira has been appointed finance director with effect from July 1. Presumably shareholders, some of whom may be a little unsettled by the latest development, will be provided with some more useful details when the group’s end-September interim results are released.
To its considerable credit the HCI group has generally had a stable team of top executives. The last high profile departure was back in October 2014 when Marcel Golding quit after he was suspended for trading in Ellies shares.