PPC airs Ketso Gordhan’s ‘dirty laundry’

2014-11-05 19:53

Cement producer PPC has hit back at ousted CEO Ketso Gordhan with the “embarrassing circumstances” behind his resignation after a previous attempt to gag him failed.

The board, led by executive chairman Bheki Sibiya, today said recent statements Gordhan had made were “defamatory and demonstrate a complete disregard of the board, governance processes and the interest of shareholders”.

Gordhan quit the company after falling out with the board over its refusal to let him “exit” an executive he claimed was obstructing his strategy. He changed his mind about the resignation, but the board would not take him back.

Gordhan then canvassed shareholders in a bid to win his job back.

The board has now accused him of breaching his separation agreement and undertakings given by his lawyers.

According to the board, Gordhan’s continued breaches have now forced the board to release details of the circumstances behind his resignation.

Confirming media speculation that the executive Gordhan was at loggerheads with was finance chief Tryphosa Ramano, the board said Gordhan gave five reasons for trying to terminate her contract in September this year.

These were the five reasons, according to the board:

1. She had a bigger office than him.

2. She had requested reserved parking, which was declined.

3. She refused to participate in a voluntary salary sacrifice scheme initiated by Gordhan to bridge the wage gap between the highest and lowest paid worker. This saw Gordhan himself taking a R1 million pay cut.

4. She was asking tough questions about a loan agreement Gordhan had verbally agreed to with a potential funder.

5. She had ill-treated an employee, hired by Gordhan. The employee and her husband worked in the same department.

“The board was of the view that the reasons advanced by Mr Gordhan were not substantive and did not warrant the termination of the CFO,” it said.

It added that Gordhan was always complimentary of Ramano in his dealings with the board, as well as in public, boasting that she was the best CFO he had ever worked with.

The board tried to broker a peace deal between Gordhan and Ramano as it believed them crucial to the business, but said Gordhan undermined the process.

“The former CEO [Gordhan] has been with the company for 20 months and in that period had resigned twice,” it said. “This type of behaviour was concerning to the Board and this trend was expected to continue.”

Approached for comment about the statement, Gordhan said: “?The real reasons include that she had no leadership qualities, was a poor manager that had resulted in a dysfunctional finance department, and most importantly she was undermining the CEO and the organisation in the implementation of its strategy.”

Asked if he denied the five reasons he made for wanting to terminate Ramano’s contract, Gordhan said he would not be making any further comments.

Ppc Media Release.docx

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