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In hindsight Barloworld’s 2007 AGM may have been the high point of the Public Investment Corp’s (PIC) relatively new role as an active investor. A fiery Brian Molefe let it be known before that dramatic meeting that he would be going head to head with one of the grand old institutions of SA business. Indeed, by 2007 Barloworld seemed a bit too grand, a bit too old and a bit too institutional for the new SA. Long-term chair Warren Clewlow may also have been a bit too grand, at 70 a bit too old and a bit too much of an institution. To Molefe, who never shied away from an abrasive interaction with white-dominated corporate SA, Barloworld may have epitomised a determination to ignore the political changes that had swept through the country in the previous 13 years. The unwieldy conglomerate had never had a black executive director. Since his transfer from national treasury in 2003 Molefe had shown determination to use the PIC’s considerable financial muscle to transform the business com...

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