Christo Wiese to retire as Shoprite chair

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Shoprite Group [JSE:SHP] has confirmed that board chairperson Christo Wiese intends to retire by the next annual general meeting, to be held next year.

The retailer issued a shareholder notice announcing board changes on Friday.

"As was noted at the group's recent AGM, succession planning is a key priority for the board. This is echoed by the current group chairperson, Dr Wiese, who has indicated his intention to retire as chairperson by the next AGM.

"The board is of the view that, in line with good corporate governance, the next group chairperson should be independent, a view supported by Dr Wiese. As such the process to find a suitable independent successor has commenced," the notice read.

The group said that it would provide further updates on the matter from time to time.

This comes after shareholders holding more than 61% of ordinary Shoprite shares voted against Wiese's re-appointment as a director of the company, at this year's AGM, Netwerk24 previously reported.

Wiese, however, retained his seat on the board due to his control of 42% of the voting rights in the retail group.

At the time Wiese told Netwerk24 that he did not think the vote results demonstrated distrust in him.

At the same AGM, Prof Shirley Zinn, indicated there is already a succession plan for Wiese. In a surprising move, Zinn herself, resigned a few days later, Fin24 reported. Zinn earlier this year was appointed to the position of independent lead director, replacing Edward Kieswetter, who stepped down from the board after he took the helm at SARS.

According to the shareholder notice, Shoprite has since appointed Dr Anna Mokgokong as the new lead independent director and as a member of the remuneration committee.

Wiese was a close associate of former Steinhoff CEO Markus Jooste, who resigned in December 2017 after auditors flagged accounting irregularities in Steinhoff's annual reports. As a consequence, the Steinhoff share price fell nearly 90%. Wiese was among the shareholders who were affected and lost more than R23bn and is suing Steinhoff.

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