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Moyo's ouster 'smokescreen' for real issues: BMF

Aug 01 2019 10:30
Sibongile Khumalo

The Black Management Forum (BMF) says the legal wrangle between Old Mutual and its embattled CEO Peter Moyo is a “smokescreen” designed to hide real issues at the financial services firm.

Commenting after a Tuesday's High Court order temporarily reinstating Moyo to his position, the organisation lambasted Old Mutual for its handling of Moyo’s suspension, as stated in the court’s findings against the company.

“As the BMF, we have been following this impasse very closely and have been concerned about the way Old Mutual sought to remove a competent black CEO under the guise of a concern about a conflict of interest,” said the BMF statement.

Moyo returned to work on Wednesday following a court order which Old Mutual is seeking leave to appeal.

The BMF said it was extremely concerned about some of the factual findings raised by the court, which indicate that, “Old Mutual completely flouted corporate governance and labour law practices in pursuit of a highly experienced and competent black executive”.

“To us, this has always appeared to be a smokescreen designed to mask the real issues at play,” it said. Moyo was suspended in May and later fired as CEO of the JSE listed insurer in June.

The company asserted this was due to a conflict of interest in his personal business matters. In its judgment, the court found against this assertion.

“We are aware that Old Mutual has elected to appeal the judgment….but the BMF’s view remains that the corporate governance issues highlighted in this judgment need to be seriously considered.”

The organisation stressed that the failure of governance should never be an issue that is “reserved for the public sector only, as the private sector is just as contaminated”.

Moyo now intends to pursue Part B of his legal suit which seeks to declare members of the Old Mutual Board delinquent. The matter is set to get underway in about two months.

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