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Behind the sudden resignation of Arrowhead’s CFO

Imraan Suleman resigns after use of the company credit card for personal benefit. 
An analyst has questioned why the CFO, who took home a salary of R5.1m in 2018, would fall on his sword over a credit card spend of less than R100 000. Picture: Shutterstock

The use of credit card rewards points for personal gain appears to be the reason behind the sudden resignation of Arrowhead Properties co-founder and CFO Imraan Suleman. 

Arrowhead told the market on Wednesday that Suleman had resigned, following an “instance of unauthorised use of company resources”.

The “company resources” in this instance refers to the use of the company’s credit card reward points, valued below R100 000, by Suleman for his personal gain and not to the benefit of the company.

This was confirmed by CEO of Arrowhead Properties Mark Kaplan after two sources told Moneyweb that Suleman’s sudden departure was linked to his use of the company’s credit card.

“The resources concerned were rewards points on a corporate credit card, some of which, on the face of it, was used for personal and not corporate expenditure. It is with great difficulty that the company had to go through this [accepting Suleman’s resignation],” said Kaplan.

Without specifying on the exact amount that Suleman spent, Kaplan said it is an “immaterial amount” but acknowledges that the misused funds could have been used to reduce Arrowhead’s costs. “The value of the money that was spent makes no difference to the company. Fortunately, there won’t be a financial impact,” he said.

It is unclear at this point what Suleman spent the credit card rewards points or money on. He didn’t respond to messages for comment when Moneyweb reached out to him.

Suleman’s resignation comes at a time when the JSE faces a revolving door of executives, who have mostly resigned in recent weeks or have been suspended for obscure reasons including Old Mutual CEO Peter Moyo.

Read: Peter Moyo questions reasons for Old Mutual suspension

It also comes at a time when Arrowhead – which owns a portfolio of retail, office and industrial properties valued at R5.7 billion – is in the process of merging with its counterpart Gemgrow.

Arend de Kock, who has been with Arrowhead for five years, has been appointed acting CFO, replacing Suleman.

Kaplan said Arrowhead wanted to embark on a disciplinary process after the company discovered Suleman’s misuse of company funds. But he chose to “unfortunately” resign after he was informed of the disciplinary process. He has offered to repay the money.

The market largely lauded Arrowhead for its level of disclosure regarding the reason behind Suleman’s resignation.

However, one analyst, who didn’t want to be named, wanted more disclosure from Arrowhead on what Suleman spent the company funds on. He also questioned why Suleman, who took home a salary of R5.1 million in 2018 and was set to receive R5.4 million this year, would fall on his sword over a credit card spend of less than R100 000.

Suleman was also entitled to a short-term incentive (bonus) of R3.2 million.

Kaplan ruled out the possibility of Suleman receiving a separation package, also known as a golden handshake. “There is no pay-out or package with the resignation,” he says.

Suleman also holds 272 064 shares in Arrowhead, which were purchased using a loan from the company valued for R1.3 million. Repayment of the loan is due by January 2021. With Suleman’s resignation, Kaplan said the repayment of the loan will have to go through a board process and decision.

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Some people have visited the dark side, that murky area in life where most of us fear to tread. The other side of the fence.

I know some who have, they tend to be economical with the truth and you hear about their trips to the dark side from others.

It is these people who no matter what they earn need a “fix” by visiting there again, be it via the company credit card or just plain theft as our politicians do. They will always be shady dishonest characters, we are seeing them on a daily basis on our daily commissions that are being run simultaneously.

Stay away from the dark side and you won’t be tempted and you will sleep easy at night.

Everybody has a darkside pwgg. From rushing, crushing, obsessing, behaving delinquently, drinking alcohol, smoking, eating excessive amounts of meat, sugar, salt etc etc etc the list goes on. This is called being human, a tactile subject of temptation if you like.

Through acknowledging and accepting this, not denying- that is the path of enlightenment. If you deny them, they will manifest in your daily life- so be aware and keep an open eye on your shadow thoughts and feelings- journal them even- in order to discover your true light and Higher Purpose in this creation.

Without shadow, there is no true light!

Imagine our politicians followed suit. Parliament would be practically empty.

The company should still take legal action against the individual – that way he has a criminal record and may well place him in the unemployable pool of crooks

grahamcr, what planet are you from?, you know, the one with an “unemployable pool of crooks”? … 🙂

Not sure what the analyst who doesn’t want to be named means when he says the amount is too small to justify Suleman falling on his sword. Surely the issue is the fact that he didn’t have the right to a company resource for personal gain irrespective of the amount, especially given his whopping salary.

Agree – it is, as if, South Africans no longer look at the crime, they focus on the quantum of the proceeds.
This man should be fired, declared unfit to hold any such positions again – unless the café on the corner wants a CFO!

I wonder how many companies track and report in their balance sheet the value of their card and travel loyalty points? At some point a decade or so ago, if they were a currency, frequent flyer miles would have been the fourth biggest currency in the world. Since most issuers have a fine print somewhere about subject to change, those points are potentially, well pointless.

This is a very cryptic move and makes no sense prima facie.

More like a distraction. There must be other personal or political factors at play behind the scenes. Either a push or a pull…

What the specific background and application of the “loyalty points” may or may not have been is not disclosed at all.

This could be a case of collusion or entrapment even- who knows? innocent until proven guilty makes this guy innocent, surely? Have charges even been placed?

Who even cares about loyalty points and immaterial amounts as long as the business financial, strategy and fundamental strings are being managed efficiently and effectively.

If Suleman has been doing a good job to date, then who does this not suit? Something about a more comfortable fit with Gemgrow and the “new” political environment even?

Clearly if the company had a very clear policy against it, then he had to go as it was clearly a breach of trust showing a lack of credibility.

However the vast majority of companies allow air miles to accrue to the employee – it’s a small perk for the inconvenience of travelling on business in the first place (and not being paid for the nights and weekends away from home). Not credit card points though, admittedly.

Sounds like the company was looking for a reason to get rid of him.

End of comments.

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