New Sapo CEO to ‘remain involved’ at Purple Group

Johannesburg - Mark Barnes, the new chief executive officer of the South African Post Office (Sapo), will take a non-executive role within Purple Group [JSE:PPE].

Purple Group, which is listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE), is an investing and trading solutions company.

Barnes has been executive chairman at Purple Group but he will now take up a non-executive role at the company after Cabinet last week approved his appointment as group CEO of Sapo.

Barnes’ five-year term at Sapo is planned to start on January 15 2016.

“He will retain his office and remain involved in the strategic direction and stakeholder interests of the Purple Group, as chairman,” said Purple Group in a SENS announcement.

Apart from being the biggest shareholder at Purple Group, Barnes was also previously an investment banker at Standard Corporate and Merchant Bank (SCMB). He was also the former head of private equity firm Brait.

Barnes’ appointment at Sapo comes amid the state-owned company experiencing instability among its leadership and a negative financial position.

Barnes told Fin24 last week that Sapo can become profitable again and that he wants to adapt the company to the internet age.

He also told Fin24 last week that he plans to remain involved with Purple Group as he puts on “many hats”.

“Some of the hats are going to get smaller because this one (the role of Sapo CEO) is going to be quite big,” Barnes told Fin24 last week Thursday by phone.

“I think I’ll stay on the various boards that I’m involved in where I’ve got interests in shareholdings and some influence, and I’m not planning to leave all of those alone.

“But of course my major focus, my job, my go-to-work-everyday will be at the Post Office,” he told Fin24.

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