Senior managers 'running the ship' in wake of CEO's arrest for murder

Jason and Susan Rohde (Facebook)
Jason and Susan Rohde (Facebook)

Cape Town – Sotheby's International Realty South Africa on Tuesday noted the arrest of one of its top executives, but said it could not comment further at this time.

Jason Rohde, 47, CEO of Geffen International Realty Franchises, was arrested in Johannesburg on Tuesday morning in connection with his wife Susan's murder.

"While Jason is on leave a team of senior managers from head office is running the ship and everything within the company is operating as normal," Sotheby’s spokesperson Samantha Bartlett told News24.

"Any further questions should be directed to the South African police or the department of public prosecutions," she said.

Susan Rohde, 47, was found dead in a bathroom of Spier Wine Estate in Stellenbosch on July 24. Sotheby’s had hosted its annual conference at the venue for the weekend.

Western Cape police confirmed to News24 that a 47-year-old man had been arrested in Johannesburg around 06:50 on Tuesday, and the man's lawyer, Daniel Witz, confirmed his arrest to Netwerk24. He was arrested in the presence of his three teenage daughters.

Argument over 'affair'

Witz told Netwerk24 that Rohde had met with police in Stellenbosch last week and agreed that he would travel to Cape Town at his own expense and hand himself in if they wanted to arrest him. He was told the investigation was continuing.

Rohde was reportedly shocked that police had gone back on their word and had arrested him at home.

He was being held at the Randburg police station pending his first appearance in court.

Following the initial registration of an inquest docket, the results of the State pathologist’s post-mortem led to the cause of her death being changed to murder.

Witz previously said that according to his client, he and his wife had woken up together that Sunday morning.

"She went into the bathroom to get ready and he fell asleep. When he awoke to get ready for a breakfast talk, he was unable to open the door," he said.

Hotel maintenance was called to assist. Once opened, he found his wife hung behind the door, he told News24.

Allegations of the couple being involved in an argument at the hotel's bar on Saturday night, where Susan apparently "stood in public and said she knew he was having an affair" were irrelevant, Witz argued.

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