Biggest Steinhoff Investor Is Said to Oppose Two Directors

(Bloomberg) -- Steinhoff International Holdings NV’s biggest shareholder opposed the reappointment of Steve Booysen and Angela Kruger-Steinhoff to the crisis-hit retailer’s supervisory board, according to a person familiar with the matter.

Booysen, who’s been on the board since 2015 and heads Steinhoff’s audit and risk committee, was retained at the company’s annual general meeting on Friday for a further four-year term with 56 percent of the vote. Kruger-Steinhoff, the founder Bruno’s daughter, got 59 percent support. These were the lowest acceptance rates of any of the proposals put to shareholders on the day.

Biggest Steinhoff Investor Is Said to Oppose Two Directors

The Public Investment Corp., Africa’s biggest money manager, voted against both reappointments, said the person, who asked not to be identified as the company’s position is private. The administrator of South African government pension funds holds 7.2 percent of Steinhoff, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

The owner of Conforama in France and Mattress Firm in the U.S. on Friday faced investors for the first time since reporting a hole in its accounts in December, which caused the stock to crash by 95 percent. Senior management gave an update on the state of the retailer’s finances and took questions on everything from how they failed to spot the malpractice to the role of auditor Deloitte LLP, which was duly retained.

Booysen, 55, is a former chief executive officer of Absa, a banking unit of Barclays Africa Group Ltd. “His knowledge and experience match the desired expertise,” Steinhoff said in introductory notes to the AGM.

Chairwoman Heather Sonn appealed for shareholder support ahead of a debt restructuring plan that will be put to lenders in May. She pledged to reinstate trust in the retailer and said all board members have agreed to quit immediately if they are found to have engaged in any wrongdoing. Former CEO Markus Jooste quit in December and has been referred by the company to a South African anti-corruption police unit.

A PIC spokesman didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. The votes were earlier reported by Business Day newspaper.

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