South Africa: Old Mutual's Peter Moyo Fired a Second Time

Video screenshot of on again, off again Old Mutual CEO Peter Moyo
22 August 2019

Cape Town — In response to a Old Mutual shareholder request for the board to finalize matters with CEO Peter Moyo, the insurer has fired him for the second time.

Moyo's fall-out with his employer began on May 23, when he was first suspended for a break in trust and confidence. On June 18, he was fired after accusations of wrongfully pocketing dividends worth R30 million (in the region of U.S.$1.9 million) linked to NMT Capital, an investment holding company co-founded by Moyo, in which Old Mutual holds a 20% stake.

Moyo approached the courts for reinstatement and also wanted to stop the board from appointing a replacement until the outcome of the second part of his case - asking the courts to declare the Old Mutual board and its chair, former finance minister Trevor Manuel, delinquent in their duties. He also cited a breakdown in the relationship with Manuel.

The courts ruled in Moyo's favour in the first part of his case, ordering Old Mutual to reinstate him to his position. He arrived at work the following day, only to be told that Old Mutual was appealing the ruling which according to them, made the court judgement null and void. A meeting between Moyo's lawyers and Old Mutual's legal representatives was cancelled at the last minute later that day and Old Mutual filed papers at the South Gauteng High Court.

Old Mutual has on August 22, issued Peter Moyo with a second termination letter and his lawyer Eric Mabuza labelled this action as "madness".

Meanwhile Old Mutual's share price has fallen by 15% to R18.31 a share (at closing on August 21) since Moyo was suspended on 23 May - wiping off more than R17 billion (about U.S.$1 119 254 500) on its market capitalisation.

The Moyo matter will not go away as fast as shareholders would like, as court proceedings are still to be heard.

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