Absa board axes Sipho Pityana as lead independent director with immediate effect

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Sipho Pityana. Photo: City Press
Sipho Pityana. Photo: City Press

Just weeks after he took the SA Reserve Bank's Prudential Authority (PA) to court, the Absa board has axed Sipho Pityana as its lead independent director.

In a statement published late on Friday, the banking group said its board had resolved that Pityana would cease to be lead independent director of the Absa Group and Absa Bank, with immediate effect. 

He's also no longer going to be the chair of the bank's remuneration committee.

Pityana was not immediately available to comment.

But this is the second board position that he's left with immediate effect within a year. He resigned from the Anglo Gold Ashanti board in December 2020 without giving reasons at the time.

However, after taking the PA to court in October for allegedly blocking his appointment to the chairmanship position at Absa, he revealed that he had left the mining house after allegations of sexual harassment, which he has vehemently denied.

When those revelations came to the fore, Pityana said Absa proceeded to re-elect him as its lead independent director with full knowledge of the allegations. He was re-elected at an AGM that the bank held on 4 June 2021.

The bank also gave no indication when Pityana took the PA to the court that his axing as a lead independent director might be imminent.

In Friday's statement, Absa said its board would appoint a new lead independent director and chairperson of the remuneration committee in due course.

Correction: Absa has clarified to Fin24 that Pityana is still a member of its board. But he is no longer the lead independent director or the chair of the remuneration committee. 

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