Daryll Castle takes hot seat at PPC

As widely expected, PPC has appointed former independent board member Daryll Castle as its chief executive.

The cement producer hired executive search firm Heidrich & Struggles to find a new boss after Ketso Gordhan quit in September and unsuccessfully tried to rescind his resignation. This followed a fallout with the board related to its refusal to let him fire chief financial officer Tryphosa Ramano.

Heidrich & Struggles ended up hiring Castle, who joined PPC as an independent non-executive director in October. He will step into the CEO suite on January 12.

Castle has served as chief executive of Trafigura Mining Group and Anvil Mining Limited, listed on the main board of the Toronto Stock Exchange and the Australian Stock Exchange. More recently, he worked as Chief Operations Officer at mining group Metorex.

Castle was one of the nominees that shareholders Foord Asset Management and Visio Capital put forward in their bid to overhaul the board during a special meeting which has since been cancelled.

He pulled out of the race a week after Nompumelelo Siswana, another nominee, withdrew her name after learning that shareholders intended to replace the board instead of bolstering it.

Gordhan, also nominated for the new board, said at the time he was not surprised Castle had withdrawn, as he was one of the candidates for the CEO post.

After PPC struck a compromise deal with the shareholders to move the vote to its annual general meeting in January and put forward a list of nominees that did not include people who had served as executive directors in the past ten years, the Foord’s and Visio’s original list was whittled down to six people – leaving Gordhan, as a former executive, out in the cold.

Then former AngloGold CEO Bobby Godsell and MasterBuilders executive director Itumeleng Dlamini withdrew, leaving less than half of the original list.

PPC’s Africa strategy now rests on Castle’s shoulders – but chairman Bheki Sibiya will be counting on his “first-hand” experience in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Zambia, Angola and Tanzania to take it forward.

“Darryll’s extensive experience and knowledge, as well as deep relationships on the continent and in other emerging markets, will add further impetus to PPC’s growth strategy,” said Sibiya.

“We welcome him to the board in an executive capacity and look forward to working with him in delivering on the company’s mandate from shareholders.”

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