Old Mutual fires suspended CEO Moyo

Credit: REUTERS/Mike Hutchings

South Africa's second-biggest insurer Old Mutual said it had fired suspended CEO Peter Moyo, citing a conflict of interest with an investment firm he founded.

Adds details, shares

JOHANNESBURG, June 18 (Reuters) - South Africa's second-biggest insurer Old Mutual OMUJ.J said it had fired suspended CEO Peter Moyo, citing a conflict of interest with an investment firm he founded.

In a Tuesday statement, the insurer described problems engaging with Moyo following his suspension in May, which came less than a year after he took the over as CEO of the newly listed insurer.

"Mr Moyo's actions since the suspension contravened his fiduciary duties to Old Mutual, his contract of employment and his notice of suspension," the statement said.

"Following unsuccessful attempts to engage on the terms of separation, the Board has now resolved to give notice of termination of employment."

Moyo did not reply to a number of messages seeking comment. He told Reuters following his suspension there had been no wrongdoing on his part.

Old Mutual said in the statement the conflict of interest related to ordinary dividend payments made by NMT Capital, the investment firm Moyo founded and in which an Old Mutual subsidiary is the only institutional investor.

The insurer said that while Moyo's interest in NMT Capital was declared and protocols were put in place to manage it, the two payments made by the firm in 2018, totalling 115 million rand ($7.78 million), were a breach of its rights as a preference shareholder.

This was because arrear preference dividends were unpaid at the time and preference share capital was redeemable at the time of the second payment, it continued, adding it had not received an acceptable explanation for this.

The full-year financial statements for Old Mutual Life Assurance Company, the subsidiary that invested in NMT Capital, said the total impairment on preference share capital held in NMT Capital and NMT Group amounted to 97 million rand in December 2018.

Old Mutual said Moyo chaired the board meeting of NMT Capital where the second ordinary dividend of 105 million rand was declared, and that the benefit to Moyo and his personal investment company of the payments was 30.6 million rand.

NMT Capital declined to comment.

The insurer's Johannesburg-listed shares were up 1.34% at 0732 GMT. Its London-listed shares also rose following the announcement.

($1 = 14.7812 rand)

(Reporting by Emma Rumney, editing by Louise Heavens)

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