The letter signed by Sabido chair John Copelyn.
Cape Town - Marcel Golding, former CEO of e.tv, “made a serious blunder in accumulating shares in another company, without any authorisation", and his accusations of political interference "threatened the credibility of e.tv".
This was the message from e.tv’s chairperson John Copelyn, contained in a letter he sent on Tuesday as Sabido chairperson, the company that owns e.tv, eNCA and OpenviewHD.
Golding resigned as Sabido 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 Sabido.
He said Golding had “to date made no apology for this and has expressed no remorse”.
Copelyn announced that HCI financial director Kevin Govender would take over Golding’s position as acting CEO and that he himself would join the Sabido exco along with the remaining members, Mark Rosin, Antonio Lee and Khalik Sherrif.
- Read the full letter here
The letter resulted in a stinging reply by Bronwyn Keene-Young on Wednesday, who resigned as e.tv’s chief operating officer as a result.
- Read her full response here
Allegations of gross misconduct
“Despite what has been contended by Marcel, I want to assure you that there was only one reason for Marcel’s suspension: his decision to spend R24m of shareholder money on investing in a supplier retail company with whom we do business.
“Marcel’s trades were concealed from the company, its board who had to authorise the trades, and shareholders of Sabido – who likewise had to authorise such a purchase before Marcel was entitled to proceed.
“The shares were paid for through a private arrangement Marcel made with a broker and were not registered in the company’s name. Instead they were held in the name of a banking institution with an understanding they would later be transferred to the name of a party, the identity of whom Marcel would subsequently disclose to them, but to date has not.
“There is no other way to put it, but that he made a serious blunder in accumulating shares in another company, without any authorisation, financial approvals or process, financed and held in this secretive manner.
“This process of accumulating shares went on, without being disclosed to anyone, for nearly six months and was eventually admitted only when the shares he had purchased had fallen to half the purchase price. He had more than ample opportunity to disclose the purchase, at two separate board meetings, but remained silent.
Accusations threatened credibility e.tv
Copelyn said he worked with Golding “for a very long time” and had built “several unbelievably successful businesses together”.
“It is human nature to minimise the significance of wrongs that we do and Marcel seems to have completely forgiven himself in this very unfortunate issue.”
He said that Golding’s accusations of political interference threatened the credibility of e.tv and eNCA and damaged their reputations. “It’s particularly sad when one considers the very special esteem in which he holds the stations and their people.”
“Given our long history in fighting for democracy, please let me stress that there is simply no way that HCI could ever be indifferent to political interference in the station. Apart from an ideological rejection of political interference, there are compelling business reasons never to allow this to happen.”
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