Mark Lamberti will leave Imperial on April 30. Picture: MARTIN RHODES
Mark Lamberti will leave Imperial on April 30. Picture: MARTIN RHODES

Mark Lamberti has resigned as Imperial CEO, following an adverse judgment in the case brought by fired employee Adila Chowan, whom he called a “female employment equity candidate”.

Imperial has promoted its chief financial officer, Osman Arbee, to succeed Lamberti as CEO on May 1.

Lamberti’s April 30 departure from Imperial, announced on Wednesday morning, follows his resignations from the boards of Eskom and Business Leadership SA.

“The [Imperial] board has noted the content and tone of the judgement, in which there is no finding of defamation, racism or sexism despite extensive and frequently inaccurate publicity directed at Mr Lamberti suggesting that there was,” Imperial said in its statement announcing Lamberti’s resignation.

“In light of this, Mr Lamberti has resigned in the interests of the Imperial group and its stakeholders, who may be prejudiced by such publicity.”

Imperial said its board had carefully studied the judgement, “and accepts the conclusions reached therein”.

“In addition to finding that the ex-employee had suffered damages arising from dismissal by [Imperial subsidiary Associated Motor Holdings], Mr Lamberti was found to have impaired the dignity of the ex-employee during a conversation on April 15 2015. Mr Lamberti has apologised unreservedly for any unintended hurt.”

Imperial said its board “has further resolved to implement corrective action to address deficiencies in Imperial’s gender and race relations culture highlighted in the judgement, bearing in mind that substantial progress in gender and racial transformation within its ranks has been made over the past three years”.