Old Mutual Ltd.’s largest shareholder wants the insurance giant to urgently end a months-long dispute with fired Chief Executive Peter Moyo, the Sunday Times reports, citing Reuel Khoza, chairman of the Public Investment Corporation.
The PIC told the Old Mutual board chairman Trevor Manuel to urgently resolve the disagreement with Moyo, who, despite scoring two court victories against the insurer, was prevented from resuming work by the company. The PIC, Africa’s largest fund manager, is concerned about Old Mutual’s plan to end the dispute through courts as the legal route may become “protracted,” the newspaper cites Khoza as saying.
“While that proceeds apace, the company’s performance will be suffering, the share price will be eroding or may fail to recover,” Khoza said. “We would prefer for the two parties to come together and resolve the matter.”
The spat between the 174-year-old insurer and Moyo spilled into the open in May when he was suspended for an alleged conflict of interest. The company fired him three weeks later, a decision Moyo successfully challenged in the High Court in Johannesburg. Old Mutual has prevented the 57-year-old from returning to work on grounds it is appealing the ruling to temporarily reinstate him. Moyo, who was issued with another notice of termination in August, is demanding a R250 million damages claim.
“We don’t believe in threats, we don’t believe in imposing ourselves unduly in the affairs of our investee companies, but we can’t sit back and behave as though there are no problems,” Khoza said, according to the Sunday Times.
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