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Shares in Ascendis Health fell as much as 10.2% on Friday after the troubled maker of Bettaway vitamins said it had parted ways with its CEO of less than 14 months, Thomas Thomsen.

The stock recovered to close at R4.93c, giving the company a market capitilisation of R2.2bn. “The fact that Thomsen has been bulleted as CEO doesn’t come as a surprise,” said independent analyst Anthony Clark. Chair Andrew Marshall, who has led fishing group Oceana and packaging giant Nampak, and who joined Ascendis earlier in May, was appointed acting CEO, Ascendis said. On May 3, Ascendis said it had appointed Marshall and Phil Roux, the former CEO of Pioneer Foods, to its board. The board changes came after a demand in late April by two significant shareholders — Mergence Investment Managers and Acanthin Capital — to convene a general meeting to nominate new non-executive directors to the board. The addition of Marshall and Roux to the board showed that activist shareholders had demanded major c...

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