Bronwyn Keene-Young. (Who's Who)
Cape Town – Hot on the heels of e.tv boss Marcel Golding’s resignation, his wife and e.tv chief operating officer (COO) Bronwyn Keene-Young handed in her resignation on Wednesday, in a letter in which she slams e.tv chairperson John Copelyn for the “sickeningly defamatory letter” he sent staff on Tuesday.
Keene-Young was COO for 10 years and has been at e.tv for 15 years in total, together with her husband Golding, who founded e.tv with Copelyn.
In her letter to staff, she said that Copelyn misrepresented the facts relating to Golding’s removal, “perhaps in the vain hope that you will be taken in by his eloquent sentences set out on a Sabido letterhead”.
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She said Copelyn forgot that Golding took over e.tv when it was virtually bankrupt and “turned it into the highly successful media house it is today”.
“He doesn’t understand that it is Marcel’s vision, which has driven us to the success we enjoy today, and he believes that he can destroy Marcel’s legacy with a four page letter, which is designed to make you think less of Marcel.
“Copelyn is silent on how he has attempted to manipulate this company from behind the scenes.
“He fails to tell that earlier this year, when I resisted editorial instructions from Yunis Shaik, he [Copelyn] sought my removal from the company. After pushback from our exco, he agreed to let me stay on provided that I was sidelined into a new position in which news no longer reported to me.
READ: e.tv's integrity 'non-negotiable' - executive
“Copelyn doesn’t tell you that he has told our exco that eNCA’s news coverage is “problematic” for HCI’s other interests and that our news had to be reined in so that it didn’t affect HCI’s ability to source gambling licences from government.
“Copelyn doesn’t tell you that he told me that the line of editorial independence was not one for the news editorial team to determine and nor was it for Sabido management to determine. That line would be determined by HCI.
“Copelyn doesn’t tell you that he was fully aware of the ‘Ellies shares’ matter from early August and that he did nothing about it until early October until all other attempts and threats to get Marcel to resign had failed.
READ: e.tv CEO resigns 'with a heavy heart'
“He doesn’t tell you that throughout this period, each time Marcel refused to acquiesce to Copelyn’s demands and ‘go quietly’, that Marcel was threatened with disciplinary action on the Ellies matter.
“He doesn’t tell you that only in early October – a full two months after Copelyn had become aware of the details of the Ellies matter – did he raise this as a disciplinary issue with Marcel and all of a sudden the Ellies issue became serious enough for HCI to suspend Marcel for ‘gross misconduct’ and for Copelyn to lock Marcel out of his office.
“In his letter, Copelyn has gone to great lengths to misrepresent the facts and to hide his own unacceptable behavior in this entire matter. He does not understand this company, its people, and its DNA, and he never will.
READ: Golding ruling vindicates suspension - HCI
“He does not understand the depth of love and loyalty, which staff have to a CEO who has carried them for 15 years from virtual bankruptcy to great success.”
Golding resigned as e.tv CEO on Monday after his failed Labour Court attempt to reverse the decision by his employer, Hosken Consolidated Investments (HCI) [JSE:HCI], to suspend him pending a disciplinary hearing into gross misconduct, resulting from R24m worth of Ellies shares he bought on behalf of the company.
HCI has a 63% stake in e.tv and HCI Management Services is the company that employed Golding as e.tv CEO.
Read: What e.tv boss claims in court papers
Read Copelyn's full letter to staff:
Johnny Copelyn: Marcel Golding made serious blunder