Shareholders to select new PPC board

2014-12-21 16:00

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Investors stand their ground, leading to a list of 12 nominees – none of whom have served as executive directors at the company in the past 10 years

Cement producer PPC is set to send out a circular with a list of 12 names for shareholders to pick six candidates to serve alongside new CEO Darryll Castle and six existing members.

During the course of next week, the company will send out the names, whittled down from a list of 17 nominated by shareholders Foord Asset Management and Visio Capital, which asked for a special meeting earlier this month to remove the board.

After PPC struck a compromise deal with the shareholders to rather “reconstitute” the board and move the vote to its AGM in January, and to put forward a list of nominees that did not include people who had served as executive directors in the past 10 years, Foord and Visio’s old list was cut to six people.

This left former CEO Ketso Gordhan, who was on the list, out of the running. Former AngloGold CEO Bobby Godsell and Master Builders executive director Itumeleng Dlamini withdrew, leaving less than half of the people on the old list eligible.

The 12 names on the new list are a hybrid of people nominated by shareholders and PPC.

Daryll Owen, the deputy chief investment officer at Foord, said he did not know who was short-listed. He did not respond to questions about its nominees.

PPC executive chair Bheki Sibiya has announced plans to step down as soon as “stability has been established on the board”, and Bobby Godsell – the most likely person to lead the new board because he has held a raft of chairmanships – has pulled out, so there is no clear contender for the post.

Godsell said he only agreed to the nomination to facilitate a shareholders’ meeting. “It seemed to me from the perspective of good corporate governance that the first prize was that both existing directors and new directors should subject themselves to shareholder accountability through an election.

“This has been achieved in the agreement reached between shareholders and the board. This agreement ended a situation when a significant group of shareholders and the board were at odds.”

The reconstituted board will be charged with executing PPC’s difficult Africa strategy, which has funding of $412?million (R4.8?billion) for its expansion projects in Rwanda, Ethiopia, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Zimbabwe.

During his bid to get back into the company, Gordhan said he held key relationships across the continent. But so does Castle, according to Sibiya.

Earlier this week, Sibiya said: “Darryll’s extensive experience and knowledge, as well as deep relationships on the continent and in other emerging markets, will add further impetus to PPC’s growth strategy.”

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