Mark Lamberti. Picture: MARIANNE SCHWANKHART/THE TIMES
Mark Lamberti. Picture: MARIANNE SCHWANKHART/THE TIMES

Dear Imperial Colleagues,

April is my 50th and last month as your Group Chief Executive Officer.

The attached announcement of my resignation on the 30th April and Osman Arbee’s appointment as Imperial Group Chief Executive on the 1st May, was distributed by the Stock Exchange News Services this morning.

My short time with Imperial has been a period of 24/7 application, tremendous intellectual stimulation and extraordinary collegiality with those of you with whom I worked closely.  I have also revelled in the geographic, industry, operational and cultural diversity of our business.  Each conversation provided new insight and understanding, all of which was brought to bear in shaping what Imperial is today.

Many of you have spoken to me about the impact of the current wave of negative publicity on you, your families and Imperial.  In accepting the sentiments, content and findings of the judgment, and in noting the media and public response to it, the most appropriate response for each of you will be to redouble your efforts to align Imperial’s employee and leadership profile with the economically active demographics of South Africa.  I have no doubt that Osman, Marius and Mohammed will continue to drive this imperative, as I did, in every private or public setting.  We live in a fragile polarised society at the moment and those of us who are privileged to lead have never had a greater obligation to redress this with sensitivity and humility.

Over the next few days I will be handing over my responsibilities to Osman.  Since my first day as Group Chief Executive, Osman has been an invaluable source of functional expertise, commercial acumen, organisational memory and empathetic humanity.  My relationship with him has been one of the highlights of my 40 year career and I have every confidence that he will lead Imperial and Motus to heights we can all be proud of.

Finally, I have two words.  Sorry and thanks.

Sorry for what you, your families and the company have had to endure over the past few weeks.  Imperial is a legitimate source of pride for all of us and the pursuit of personal and corporate excellence must continue.

Thanks for your continued commitment to Imperial, Motus and Imperial Logistics.  These are fine institutions that will survive and learn from challenges and they will adapt and endure as each of us must.

Sincerely,

MARK J. LAMBERTI