Ann Crotty Writer-at-large

Pressure on critical printing contracts and growing tension with its controlling shareholder, Media24, mean Novus Holdings is in for another tough year. After a rushed JSE listing in 2015 management might have been hoping for time to settle into the new status. Instead they seemed to lurch from one crisis to another. In February CEO Stephen van der Walt resigned, followed shortly by nonexecutive director Uys Meyer. In April company secretary Liesl Petersen resigned. In June FD Edward van Niekerk announced his resignation. In July the news came that nonexecutive director Lambert Retief, the powerhouse behind the group’s remarkable growth, was taking a medical leave of absence for six months. Things got dramatically worse this month. On January 25 Retief, just 64 years old, passed away. Given his role in building the company, formerly Paarl Media Group, into the largest print group in the country, this must have been devastating for stakeholders. Retief’s death triggered the terminati...

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