Alexander Forbes executives resign amid strategic review

Three Alexander Forbes executives have resigned as the South African retirement, investment and insurance-services provider pushes ahead with a strategic review of its market position and business model.

Chief Executive Officer at Alexander Forbes Investments Leon Greyling, group chief risk officer Vishnu Naicker and chief human resources officer Christian Schaub plan to pursue other business interests, the company said in an emailed response to questions.

The departures all took effect around the start of the year.

"Details of the resignations are confidential between the company and the relevant executives," the Johannesburg-based firm said.

Alexander Forbes was halfway through the implementation of a turnaround program known as Ambition 2022 in September when former CEO Andrew Darfoor was ousted.

He had only spent two years at the firm and has said he is challenging his dismissal. Shortly thereafter, the company announced that Naidene Ford-Hoon had resigned as chief financial officer.

The group’s new CEO, Dawie de Villiers, came on board in November after the strategy driven by Darfoor was questioned by the company’s second-largest shareholder African Rainbow Capital Investments.

The stock fell 1.1% to R4.68 as of 16:08 in Johannesburg, reversing an earlier increase of as much as 0.6%. The shares declined 26% last year, compared with an 11% drop in the benchmark all-share index.

Both Schaub and Greyling had spent less than two years at the company, while Naicker joined Alexander Forbes in 2008, according to their LinkedIn profiles.

Permanent replacements for the three senior managers will be found after a recruitment process, which will take into account the company’s strategic assessment, Alexander Forbes said.

The review is intended to strengthen the firm’s position in the employee benefits, savings and retirement markets. In line with Alexander Forbes’s succession plan and to ensure continuity, some managers will have their areas of responsibility expanded, assisted by interim appointments.

Management changes

Carina Wessels will assume responsibility for all group governance and assurance functions. Estelle Viljoen will act as the interim chief risk officer, the company said De Villiers will oversee the Alexander Forbes Investments business Muriel Sokkie, the company’s executive for organisational development, will take the post of interim chief human resources officer.

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