The Old Mutual board will not step down unless there is "just cause" for them to do so, board chair Trevor Manuel said on Friday morning.
Speaking amid an ongoing legal battle between the insurer and on-off CEO Peter Moyo, Manuel said as the board was a structure voted in by the shareholders, the shareholders would need to vote on the removal of the board if their services were no longer required.
The board is unanimous in its support of the manner in which the Moyo matter is being handled, Manuel said. "The board is solid behind what has happened, all the way," he said.
Moyo wants Manuel and the directors declared delinquent, with a new interim board appointed should he be reinstated.
He said Moyo had already been paid an amount of R4m (six months' notice pay). "I don't know what else he might expect," Manuel said.
Fin24 earlier on Friday reported that Old Mutual had abandoned its immediate plans for further legal action against Moyo, saying in a letter to Moyo's legal team that it had reconsidered an urgent application against Moyo.
It had noted it would "prefer not to have to engage in further collateral litigation". Old Mutual will now await a judgement on Moyo's application for the company to be declared in contempt of court, before it decides on its next steps.
In a media statement, however, Old Mutual noted it had "certainly not backed down" from its appeal process against an earlier judgment handed down in the High Court.
Speaking on Friday morning, Manuel said Old Mutual regarded the appeal with "a great deal of confidence" but there was "no glory in getting into a street fight".
"The matter must come to an end. The share price needs to pick up," he said. Since Moyo suspension in May, the share price has fallen by 18%.
Manuel said Old Mutual was confident it had a case. "That judgement creates a massive headache in corporate governance space. We are massively confident it will be overturned," he said, adding that Old Mutual did not wish to arrive at this point, and had to defend the litigation.