4Sight wants to put bruising board battle behind it
The newly appointed CEO of technology group 4Sight, Tertius Zitzke, says he wants the group to focus on offering high-quality technological solutions to customers in order to recover from the damage of a highly public spat over the composition of its board.
4Sight, whose share price has almost halved in 2019, underwent a dramatic board shake-up in October that saw the resignation of four directors and the appointment of seven new ones.
Zitzke said on Thursday the fight had been over the direction of 4Sight, which had been acting more as an investment holding company instead of a technological firm that was benefiting from synergies from its various subsidiaries.
The public fight, and the suspension of 4Sight from the JSE on Friday for late results, had led to reputation damage, Zitzke said.
The company was working on a new strategic plan to realise the benefits of multiple subsidiaries working together, as well as prioritising the release of its late results, which are expected to be delivered by the end of November. The company had received a qualified audit in its year to end-December, due to the auditors being unable to verify some financial statements about recently acquired subsidiaries.
Zitzke said this qualification remained an issue, but was being addressed urgently.
“Our biggest thing is customers’ sentiment, which we need to fix. We need to fix the governance of the business and deliver on the technology,” he said.
In October Zitzke, CEO of 4Sight’s professional services subsidiary AccTech Systems, was appointed acting CEO of the group after the resignation of Vince Raseroka. Three other directors resigned as well and seven new directors were appointed.
The company, whose subsidiaries include BluESP, said in August it had received a demand for a special shareholder meeting from an investor that owns at least 5% of its shares, the aim of which was to reconstitute the board.
Earlier in October, board chair Rama Sithanen quit after audit and risk committee chair Geoffrey Carter had resigned a day earlier. Carter had said his position had become untenable due to the battle over the board.
He said his position was being “compromised to a point of no return, where serious issues of financial irregularities have occurred, yet no consequences except an all-out battle of egos and clash of characters”.
Sithanen had brought forward his resignation due to the board battle, having previously indicated he wanted to re-enter politics in Mauritius.
4Sight said on Thursday its new board included five independent non-executive directors, with “impeccable credentials and the right mix of skills and experience”.
Eric van der Merwe, Marichen Mortimer, Johan Nel, Christopher Crowe, Andrew Murgatroyd and Herman Singh have been appointed to the board. Two other directors from Mauritius, where the group is incorporated, are still to be appointed.