Is there such a thing as shareholder democracy? Can democracy exist where there is no transparency? Whose interests do boards of directors represent? A surprising thing happened recently. Two companies, both stalwarts of the JSE, committed just about the worst sin. Out of the blue, construction company Group Five said on Monday that CEO Themba Mosai had resigned. With immediate effect — despite the three months’ notice that Group Five requires to vacate this position. No reasons were offered for this big development. Last week Absa announced the departure of its CEO, Maria Ramos, at the end of February. That was a calendar month’s notice. Unlike Group Five, at least Absa had the decency to cook up an explanation for the departure of the long-serving Ramos. "She has chosen to retire when she turns 60 in February and is eligible to do so," it said. "She had indicated a desire to step down earlier, but agreed to see the group through the separation negotiations with Barclays Plc, the e...

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