Alexander Forbes Says Two More Executives Resign Amid Exodus

(Bloomberg) -- Two more Alexander Forbes Group Holdings Ltd. executives have resigned from the South African insurance-services provider, extending a management exodus following the ousting of former Chief Executive Officer Andrew Darfoor in September.

Tony Powis, CEO of corporate and employee benefits, and Sugendhree Reddy, head of retail financial services, will leave by the end of this month, Alexander Forbes’ new chief, Dawie de Villiers, said in an interview in Johannesburg on Wednesday. The total number of senior departures -- including Darfoor -- is now seven.

“All the resignations were in a short period of time but for different individual reasons,” said De Villiers, who joined in November from Cape Town-based rival Sanlam Ltd.

Alexander Forbes was midway through a turnaround program when Darfoor was ousted after his strategy was questioned by the company’s second-largest shareholder, billionaire Patrice Motsepe’s African Rainbow Capital Investments Ltd. The insurer, which also provides retirement and investment services, reported a loss for the six months through September following write offs related to the abandonment of an information technology project.

Strategic changes

De Villiers said last month he would devise a new strategy for Alexander Forbes by the end of March, with the firm facing challenges such as sluggish economic growth in South Africa and an unemployment rate of more than 27 percent.

Read More: Alexander Forbes Reviews Strategy After IT Project Losses

The CEO has already made changes to the firm’s executive committee, with Bruce Bydawell heading the finance and mergers and acquisitions unit. Butsi Tladi has been appointed to lead corporate & employee benefits, Bonga Mokoena takes over the emerging markets team and Ryan Knipe the retail business, he said. De Villiers will extend his duties to look after investments, with several others appointed on an interim basis.

“It’s bad to lose people but it’s a good opportunity to start on a clean slate,” De Villiers said. “I have to look at the positives.”

Read More: Alexander Forbes Reviews Strategy After IT Project Losses

The shares declined 1.1 percent to 4.70 rand as of 3:15 p.m. in Johannesburg, valuing the company at 6.4 billion rand ($468 million). The stock has fallen 31 percent over the past 12 months.

©2019 Bloomberg L.P.