South Africa: To Fix Governance At Old Mutual, Trevor Manuel Should Follow Moyo Out the Door


The nasty situation facing Old Mutual over its fired-reinstated-fired-reinstated-fired boss Peter Moyo has roots in interwoven conflicts of interests going back more than a decade.

Old Mutual investors have to ask themselves how anyone at Old Mutual thought it okay to hire Peter Moyo as a chief executive officer a few years after the insurer had invested in his start-up NMT Capital. The same investors should ask questions about the appointment of Trevor Manuel to chair the board at a time when he was embedded in the leadership of Rothschild, a major supplier and adviser to Old Mutual.

It is a complicated and incestuous set of relationships from which nobody will emerge smelling of roses. A sustainable solution might be to release them both. The Moyo story starts with the founding of NMT Capital by Moyo and partners Sango Ntsaluba and Thabiso Tlelai in 2002 (NMT probably represents their names: Ntsaluba, Moyo and Tlelai). Two years later, in 2004, Old Mutual paid R5.5-million for a 20% stake in the investment house.

Granted, this investment in NMT Capital was small change for Old Mutual, and a general manager in the insurer's Specialised Finance subsidiary would not even need a committee to...

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