Choppies CEO suspended amid investigation

The board of grocery retailer Choppies has suspended its CEO Ramachandran Ottapathu.

According to a shareholder notice issued by the retailer on Tuesday afternoon, this decision comes following a board meeting on Monday May 20, 2019.

"The board of directors of Choppies hereby informs the Choppies shareholders and the general public that, at a duly convened meeting of the Board held on 20 May 2019, the Board resolved to suspend from duty the Chief Executive Officer of the Company, Mr Ramachandran Ottapathu."

Ottapathu's suspension takes effect from Wednesday, May 22. Choppies did not say why Ottapathu was suspended but indicated that the suspension is amid legal and forensic investigations announced by the retailer on March 5, 2019. The board will take further action based on the recommendations of the investigation.

"The legal investigation is anticipated to conclude by the end of May 2019  - having extended from the end of April 2019. The forensic investigation is anticipated to conclude by the end of June 2019."

An interim acting CEO Farouk Ismail has been appointed. Ismail is the current deputy chairperson of the board.

Further, a chief restructuring officer – Redford Capital – has been appointed. "Redford is a South Africa based firm with over 25 years’ experience in providing business related services that include assisting its clients to resolve challenges and meet strategic and operational objectives," the notice read. As chief restructuring officer, Redford will review the Choppies business and identify action plans to improve the business, the notice read.

The JSE and the Botswana Stock Exchange has suspended the trading of Choppies' share as the company is yet to publish its financial statements for June 30, 2018. The retailer confirmed the shares remain suspended until the publication of results.


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