With the share price almost 50% below its 12-month peak, there was little surprise from the market at the departure of Massmart CEO Guy Hayward. It comes a week after the news that CFO Johannes van Lierop was stepping down. Van Lierop will be replaced in August by Illovo Sugar CFO Mohammed Abdool-Samad. Hayward has been at Massmart since 2000, in finance, then in 2012, in operations, and for the past five years as CEO. Before that he worked in finance at CNA Gallo and the Malbak industrial conglomerate. Hayward won’t be leaving on a high note. In the year to December 2018, sales were up only 3% and headline earnings were down a whopping 32%. Jiten Bechoo, retail analyst at Avior Capital, says the diversification of the group, between retail and wholesale and food and liquor and durables, should make it a reliable dividend payer, but in fact the 2018 dividend was cut by 40%. Independent retail analyst Chris Gilmour had hoped Massmart would disrupt the SA retail sector after US giant ...

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