Cape Town - Imperial Holdings CEO Mark Lamberti has resigned. Lamberti offered to step down and Imperial’s board accepted his resignation.
Imperial said in a statement on Wednesday that the move for Lamberti to step down arose from the recent judgment in the North Gauteng High Court on March 23.
The court found in favour of an ex-employee, Adila Chowan, and against AMH (Associated Motor Holdings), Imperial and Lamberti regarding a series of incidents which commenced in 2014.
It ruled against Lamberti in a case where he was said to have referred to Chowan as "female employment-equity" in front of fellow managers, and said she would need as many as four more years to develop her leadership skills. Lamberti has since apologised unreservedly for the remarks.
Damages in the case have to be proven in due course, said Imperial in a shareholder announcement.
"Mr Lamberti has served Imperial with distinction since March 2014, leading a multifaceted portfolio, organisation and management restructuring, a key objective of which was to accelerate executive development and transformation to align Imperial’s employee and leadership profile with the economically active demographics ofSouth Africa," read Imperial's statement.
"The Board thanks Mr Lamberti for his excellent leadership and commitment to the group."
Imperial said that, while the judgment found "no finding of defamation, racism or sexism despite
extensive and frequently inaccurate publicity directed at Mr Lamberti", the CEO had chosen to step down "in the interests of the Imperial group and its stakeholders who may be prejudiced by such publicity".
Osman Arbee, Imperial's Chief Financial Officer between 2013 to 2017 and currently the CEO of the group's Motus vehicle sales division, has been appointed new group CEO with effect from May 1.
Arbee will stay on as the CEO of Motus.
"Mr Arbee was previously a senior partner at Deloitte and Touche and joined the group in 2005," said Imperial. "He has been intimately involved in the affairs of Imperial at the highest levels since joining the group and is well placed to assume leadership and continuity of the board approved strategy which commenced in late 2014."* Sign up to Fin24's top news in your inbox: SUBSCRIBE TO FIN24 NEWSLETTER