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Peter Moyo reinstated as Old Mutual CEO

High court rules that Old Mutual didn’t follow proper procedures when it fired Moyo.

Peter Moyo has won his legal battle against Old Mutual to be reinstated as the life insurer’s CEO.

On Tuesday, the high court in Johannesburg set Moyo’s dismissal from Old Mutual aside and rendered it as unlawful — effectively paving the way for him to be reinstated as CEO. 

This means that Moyo will serve the four-and-a-half years remaining on his employment contract with Old Mutual.

In a judgment delivered by judge Lester Adams on behalf of judge Brian Mashile, who presided over hearings relating to Moyo’s urgent application to be reinstated by Old Mutual as CEO, Adams said the insurer failed to follow the terms of Moyo’s employment contract when he was dismissed.

However, Old Mutual said it will immediately appeal the judgment, which will prolong the battle between the insurer and Moyo.

“The filing of the appeal will suspend the operation of the court order. Mr Moyo has been informed that he is not required or permitted to resume his duties, pending the outcome of the appeal proceedings,” Old Mutual said in a statement.

Old Mutual believes that Moyo’s court application was “ill-conceived, contained a number of false allegations, and should have been dismissed”, adding that it is optimistic that another court might come to a different conclusion.

Lester said Moyo’s dismissal by Old Mutual cannot be justified because the insurer denied Moyo a disciplinary hearing — as stipulated in his employment contract — before he was suspended and subsequently fired.

The court said Moyo’s sacking was at odds with labour laws, as Old Mutual incorrectly applied clause 24.4.1 of the Labour Relations Act as the law it relied on to fire Moyo without affording him a disciplinary hearing.

Old Mutual said it is “still studying the judgment” and will advise soon on its next move.

The high court judgment means that Old Mutual has been interdicted from appointing a CEO to replace Moyo. The company has already appointed Iain Williamson as acting CEO.

About the judgment, Moyo said: “I’m back at the office tomorrow morning at 8am. I want to go back at Old Mutual. In terms of my contract of employment, Old Mutual did not deal with it properly when dismissing me.”

Old Mutual also has to pay Moyo’s legal costs for bringing the urgent application to get his job back.

Old Mutual suspended Moyo on May 23, hours before the insurer’s annual general meeting, citing a conflict of interest due to his involvement with NMT Capital that resulted in “a material breakdown in the relationship of trust and confidence”.

The insurer fired Moyo on June 18 saying that the breakdown was attributed to a conflict over ordinary dividend payments declared by NMT Capital worth more than R100 million during its 2018 financial year. Moyo launched an urgent application at the high court in Johannesburg to declare his sacking as unlawful, which would pave the way for him to be temporarily reinstated as CEO.

Read: Old Mutual fires suspended CEO 

When Old Mutual initially suspended Moyo, it cited a breakdown of trust and confidence between both parties. Manuel said there was no financial misconduct on Moyo’s part. The insurer later said there was a conflict of interest due to Moyo’s involvement with investment holding firm NMT Capital, which he co-founded in 2002. Old Mutual owns a 20% stake in NMT.

Read: The investment firm that sunk Peter Moyo to suspension status

Moyo’s lawyers have accused Old Mutual of flip-flopping on the reasons it gave for firing Moyo and said the breakdown in the relationship between both parties was “not real” but “manufactured” by the insurer.

The judgment has endorsed arguments submitted by Moyo’s lawyers that the reasons given by Old Mutual when it first dismissed and fired him were inconsistent.

In part B of Moyo’s application, which will probably be heard in 60 days after the Tuesday judgment, he wants Old Mutual chair Trevor Manuel and about 12 non-executive directors to be declared delinquent under Section 162 of the Companies Act.

Read: Moyo wants the entire Old Mutual board to be purged

Moyo’s lawyers said Old Mutual directors neglected their fiduciary duties due to the way in which the matter was handled by the company.

Moyo said he was still pursuing part B of his application as the way Old Mutual dealt with his dismissal was “unlawful”.

Asked how Moyo’s working relationship will be with Old Mutual, the board and Manuel after he is reinstated as CEO, he said: “I’m old enough. We all work for one purpose at Old Mutual and we are not there to love each other. Work will continue.”

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The dismissal with no DC or any other inquisitive process to make a firm determination on the supposed conflict of interest was never going to stand up in court.

No surprises there.

Old Mutual is one of the more appalling institutions in South Africa when it comes to politics and ethics.

It’s completely warped by it.

mess up once again due to jobs for pals / cadres – the well known inherited anc management style spilled over to the private sector and the result thereof

Congratulations Moyo,,tonowawachisa chete.. Such a huge entity failing to follow simple labour laws,, Wonder how small people within OM, without financial muscle to seek recourse at the courts are treated. Makorokoto men.

OM’s demise, like the rest, started with the appointment of Moyo.

Hardly. OM has been in decline for decades.

OM’s demise started with it’s Chairman. OM paid for Manuel’s legal fees that have nothing to do with Old Mutual. Corruption.

Ag no! WHY did Old Mutual’s share price DROP just over 5% today? 🙁

Am a bit disappointed, as the Financial Index only dropped 1,8% on average.

So read between the lines. Old Mutual’s pathetic policyholder returns will be even weaker in the coming year once the legal fees are paid and his golden parachute is paid. It will be an untenable situation and Peter does not really want to return to work. He just wants to return to the negotiating table with a stronger case to negotiate a larger exit. So who will lose in the end. Some poor souls who were told that RA’s and endowments are good ways to prepare for your retirement. The prosecuting authorities and corporate representatives in South Africa are often just so pathetic and the company representatives, with many balls in the air cannot really win when the person taking them on has deep pockets and only one thing on his/her mind and that is to milk the company. Peter, how much is enough? Your greed is sickening like that of your employer.

I will be cancelling every policy I have with Old Mutual. They don’t deserve my money.

Amen, as i said previously all my personal policies, that of any staff and direct family is cancelled / transfered and out of OM by the end of this year. I still ask myself: ” what the hell is trevor manuel doing there(he might have been minister of finance once upon a time but he is for sure not an expert in the OM field – the same question arises for Moyo.) If they were real leaders both would have resigned and fight out their own washing man to man and not to cost of the investor in and policy holders of OM. Cheers OM, your policy seller is not welcome anymore, try somewhere else.

Well at least our Judicial system is alive and well in this country and Everyman can expect a fair trial! Perhaps OM will now wake up and reassess their internal systems. And perhaps we learn a good lesson about racist BEE policies in this country. – after 25 yrs a true Democracy should not need such racist and divisive policies. Surely?

Meanwhile at a certain head office:

“Good morning Peter. You still take one sugar with your coffee?”

“Oh, by the way, you will notice we have returned the keys to your S-Class”

You have returned the keys? No problem please forward me the travel claim form, SARS is going to hate me.

Both sides are a disgrace.

Another one of those one off shocks on a large counter of SA Inc. With just a hand full of counters on the JSE why take the risk. It is almost a monthly occurrence.

I believe this has nothing to do with boardroom politics but more to do with the bigger picture at play – Team White Monopoly Capital (WMC) (key players including – Trevor, Pravin and capt. Cyril vs Team – Radical Economic Empowerment (RET) (key players incl. Ace, Busisiwe and capt. Jacob) – when you play a game of thrones you win or die.

…interesting sports team analogy here 😉

Let me add: the team COACH will be sourced from the EFF.

And most importantly, the REFEREE will be selected from the BLF.

The match will end as a draw or undecided *lol* (The ‘spectators’ being the policy holders, will get the raw deal).

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