Denel company logo, Pretoria. Picture:REUTERS/SIPHIWE SIBEKO.
Denel company logo, Pretoria. Picture:REUTERS/SIPHIWE SIBEKO.

Ten months after firing its group CFO, state-owned arms manufacturer Denel has appointed seasoned chartered accountant Carmen le Grange to the position.

In November, Denel fired Odwa Mhlwana after he was found guilty of all disciplinary charges relating to irregular expenditure. At the time the company appointed Wim de Klerk, former CEO of ArcelorMittal SA as acting CFO, while it started the process of finding a permanent replacement.

Denel announced on Monday that Le Grange would join the board of the struggling state-owned company this week. Her job will be to oversee the financial affairs of the Denel group, and to play a critical role in improving audit results, financial systems and capability, the firm said.

Le Grange joins Denel while it is in a dire financial situation. Last week, the company, which has been struggling to pay salaries, announced that it had received R1.8bn from the government to help it stay afloat while it develops a long-term survival strategy.

Denel, which is one of a number of state-owned enterprises whose financial distress after years of mismanagement and corruption has put SA’s last remaining investment-grade rating at risk, had asked for R2.8bn. It said the other R1bn would be considered during  the process of preparing the 2020/2021 budget process.

Denel group CEO Danie du Toit said Le Grange is joining the company as its turnaround strategy begins to deliver results. He said there had been huge improvements in corporate governance, and government’s decision to recapitalise the company would put Denel on a sustainable growth path.

“We expect Ms Le Grange to play a leadership role to further stabilise Denel’s finances and implement the measures introduced by the board to improve performance and  restore confidence in the future of the company among stakeholders, partners and suppliers,” Du Toit said.

Le Grange joins Denel after a career in both the private and public sector.  She has served as a partner at PwC for more than a decade before founding an advisory consulting practice.

Le Grange also served on the audit committee of the department of tourism and on the education and transformation committee of the Independent Regulatory Board for Auditors.

quintalg@businesslive.co.za