An Old Mutual shareholder is urging the South African insurer to end its dispute with chief executive officer Peter Moyo even if it means settling out of court.
The wrangle can no longer be resolved through litigation and the recent resignation of an Old Mutual director suggests the board isn’t united in its handling of the matter, Shane Watkins, a chief investment officer at All Weather Capital, said in an opinion piece in Johannesburg-based Business Day newspaper. All Weather, which says it’s been engaging privately with Old Mutual, holds about R300 million worth of shares in the company, Watkins said by phone.
“By continuing to litigate despite numerous legal setbacks they are possibly hurting a business they have a clear duty to protect,” Watkins said in the newspaper. “The board can and should choose to settle this matter before further damage is done to the company.”
The 174-year firm’s fight with the CEO spilled into public in May after it suspended Moyo for an alleged conflict of interest, and then fired him three weeks later. Attempts by Moyo to gain access to his office have been blocked three times after he won two court orders to be reinstated. This has prompted the 56-year-old to lodge a contempt of court application against the company and board members, which Old Mutual has vowed to oppose as the spat drags on.
“All Weather is no longer confident that by pursuing the current litigation-orientated strategy the directors of Old Mutual are acting in the best interests of the company,” Watkins wrote in Business Day.
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