Absa fires Sipho Pityana from board

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Absa has thrown its knockout punch against Sipho Pityana, removing him as a board member after the businessman was recently dealt with several body blows including being rejected as chairperson of the banking group.
Absa has thrown its knockout punch against Sipho Pityana, removing him as a board member after the businessman was recently dealt with several body blows including being rejected as chairperson of the banking group.

Absa has fired Sipho Pityana as a director after the businessman failed to convince the board that his actions are not harming the bank.      

On Tuesday, the board invited Pityana to address "allegations that he had neglected or had been derelict in the performance of his functions as a director of the boards and had failed to conduct himself in the interests of Absa".

But following his presentation, directors still found that Pityana pursued his own personal interests to the detriment of Absa and "thereby created a material and sustained conflict between his interests and those of Absa".

"While the boards respect Mr Pityana’s individual right to administrative fairness, unfortunately in this matter, the boards concluded that the pursuit of his personal interest at the cost of the group’s interest created a sustained and irresoluble conflict. Absa has a duty to its stakeholders to put the group’s interest before individual interests."

Earlier in November, Pityana was axed as Absa's lead independent director and chairman of the remuneration committee.  

Pityana is taking the Reserve Bank’s Prudential Authority (PA) to court, claiming it blocked his appointment as Absa chair.

Pityana resigned from AngloGold Ashanti in December 2020, without giving reasons at the time.

But after taking the PA to court in October, he revealed that he had left the miner amid allegations of sexual harassment, which he denied.

He contends that the PA blocked his appointment as chairperson at Absa.

PA CEO and deputy Reserve Bank governor Kuben Naidoo said in an affidavit that while Pityana contended that the authority objected to his nomination as chair of the board of Absa, no written notice of his nomination was ever submitted by the bank to the PA. 

Pityana has cited Absa as a respondent in the case. 

"Absa opposed the application because the advice Absa has received is that the relief sought by Mr Pityana implicates Absa in participating in what he alleges was an unlawful informal process by the Prudential Authority." the bank said in a statement.

Absa says the court case will likely be heard during the course of next year.

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