Fortress Reit CEO Steve Brown. Picture: SUPPLIED
Fortress Reit CEO Steve Brown. Picture: SUPPLIED

Fortress, the property company which invests in commuter retail centres and industrial logistics buildings, has promoted Steven Brown to CEO, as long-standing boss Mark Stevens retires.  

The company, which was formerly a part of the Resilient stable of companies alongside Resilient, Nepi Rockcastle and Lighthouse Capital, has made managerial changes, moved to a new office and removed its cross shareholding with Resilient in recent months. 

This is as it starts afresh after a scandal that engulfed the Resilient stable in 2018 and saw investors sell huge portions of their shares, causing the share prices of Fortress and its stablemates to plunge. More than R100bn worth of value was wiped out.

A number of reports written by hedge fund managers and asset managers were released in 2018, accusing the stable of using inter-related party deals to manipulate dividend growth and profits. The reports also alleged that there had been share price manipulation at the four companies.

SA's top company conduct regulator, the Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA), which has been investigating the allegations has found no evidence of insider trading at Fortress. The FSCA's only investigation of the company, which is ongoing, is into possible prohibited trading practices relating to trading in its shares. 

In December, Fortress announced in a statement on the JSE's stock exchange news service (SENS) that Mark Stevens, the CEO and MD of Fortress, had indicated his intention to retire within the next 12 months and that Steven Brown was designated as the next CEO and MD.

Fortress has updated shareholders saying that Stevens stepped down from his roles with effect from July 8 2019, but would remain on the board as an executive director until September 2019, when he would retire, having served on the board of Fortress for a decade.

"Steven has accordingly assumed the role of CEO and MD of Fortress with effect from July 8. Mark and Steven will continue to work closely to ensure that a smooth changeover in the role of CEO and MD occurs," it said.

andersona@businesslive.co.za