The Absa Group has fired businessman Sipho Pityana as its lead independent director with immediate effect.
The group made the announcement in a statement on Friday and said: “In accordance with paragraph 3.59 of the JSE Limited Listings Requirements and paragraph 6.39 of the JSE Debt Listings Requirements, shareholders are informed that the Absa Group and Absa Bank boards have resolved that Sipho M Pityana will cease to be lead independent director of Absa Group and Absa Bank, chairman of the remuneration committee and as a consequence, member of the directors’ affairs committee with immediate effect.
“The boards will appoint a new lead independent director and chairman of the RemCo and advise shareholders in due course.”
The decision comes just weeks after Pityana served court papers on the Prudential Authority of the SA Reserve Bank, claiming his nomination to become the bank’s chairman had been unfairly blocked.
He claims his nomination was blocked after Maria Ramos informally informed the Prudential Authority’s head, Kuben Naidoo, of a sexual harassment incident and investigation involving Pityana while he was the chairman of AngloGold Ashanti.
Ramos was a former CEO at Absa and succeeded Pityana as chairman at AngloGold Ashanti when he resigned late last year.
Pityana strongly denied the harassment charges and claims the Prudential Authority did not follow proper procedures and did not offer him an opportunity to defend himself.
Pityana said the regulator involved itself in “certain criteria” and the selection process which resulted in more than one person being nominated by the board.
What followed were enquiries into Pityana’s past, he explained, “in a way that did not allow me my right to be heard, which is a constitutional and legal right that I enjoy under South African law”.
“So the processes that they followed were outside of the law and unfair indeed. They have compromised my dignity and have impugned my character.”
Additional reporting by Moneyweb