Old Mutual does not have to give fired chief executive Peter Moyo his job back, clearing the way for the giant insurer to find a replacement.
The Johannesburg High Court on Tuesday upheld an appeal by the 175-year-old insurer against a judgment delivered in July last year to temporarily reinstate the CEO.
“It confirms that Old Mutual acted properly,” spokesperson Tabby Tsengiwe said at the court. “Importantly, it also provides legal clarity on corporate governance and board stewardship, including the relationship between a board and its executive. Old Mutual is committed to strengthening governance and the management of conflicts of interest.”
Moyo told reporters outside the courthouse that there is a “very good chance” he will seek to overturn the decision at the Supreme Court of Appeal.
His team will first need to study the judgment.
Moyo was suspended by the financial services giant in May and axed in June, with Old Mutual citing a breakdown in trust and a conflict of interest related to NMT Capital, a boutique investment firm he co-founded.
Moyo then took Old Mutual to court, with Judge Brian Mashile ruling in July that he be reinstated. Mashile argued that Moyo was supposed to be afforded a hearing or arbitration since the insurer had publicly accused him of conflict of interest and gross misconduct.
Moyo denied any wrongdoing and fired back with counter-accusations against the company over conflicts involving the board’s chairperson, Trevor Manuel, which both he and the company denied.
Old Mutual had prevented Moyo from gaining access to his office following his initial court victory. It issued another notice terminating his employment in August, paying out six months of his salary.
– Bloomberg and Fin24