Dawie de Villiers. Picture: ROBERT TSHABALALA
Dawie de Villiers. Picture: ROBERT TSHABALALA

Three Alexander Forbes executives have resigned as the retirement, investment and insurance-services provider pushes ahead with a strategic review of its market position and business model.

CEO at Alexander Forbes Investments Leon Greyling; group chief risk officer Vishnu Naicker; and chief human resources officer Christian Schaub plan to pursue other business interests, the company said in an e-mailed response to questions. Schaub’s departure was effective December 31, while the others took effect on January 1.

“Details of the resignations are confidential between the company and the relevant executives,” the company said.

Both Schaub and Greyling had spent less than two years at the company, while Naicker joined Alexander Forbes in 2008, according to their LinkedIn profiles.

Alexander Forbes, SA’s largest pension funds administrator with about 1.4-million members, was halfway through the implementation of a turnaround programme, known as Ambition 2022, in September when former CEO Andrew Darfoor was ousted. He had only spent two years at the firm and has said he is challenging his dismissal. Shortly thereafter, the company announced that Naidene Ford-Hoon had resigned as CFO.

The group’s new CEO, Dawie de Villiers, came on board in November after the strategy driven by Darfoor was questioned by the company’s second-largest shareholder, Patrice Motsepe’s African Rainbow Capital Investments (ARC). De Villiers, as well as ARC’s co-CEOs Johan van Zyl and Johan van der Merwe, are former Sanlam executives.

One of the first steps taken by De Villiers was to cancel a R1bn IT contract Alexander Forbes had entered into two years earlier under Darfoor’s watch. The cancellation plunged Alexander Forbes into a R45m after-tax loss for the six months to September as it cost the group R52m to exit the contract. It also impaired a further R287m for software that was no longer necessary.

While the market initially cheered De Villiers’s appointment, the share remains under pressure, trading 8% lower over the period. It closed 0.63% lower at R4.70 a share on Thursday, near its three-year low.

Permanent replacements for the three senior managers will be found after a recruitment process, which will take into account the company’s strategic assessment, the company said.

The review is intended to strengthen the firm’s position in the employee benefits, savings and retirement markets, he said. In line with Alexander Forbes’s succession plan and to ensure continuity, some managers will have their areas of responsibility expanded, assisted by interim appointments.

Bloomberg, with staff reporter