The Absa Group has fired businessman Sipho Pityana from its board with immediate effect for alleged dereliction of his board responsibilities.
“Shareholders are informed the Absa Group and Absa Bank boards have resolved that Sipho M Pityana will cease to be a director of the boards with immediate effect.
“The boards were of the view that through his conduct, Mr Pityana had neglected, or been derelict in, the performance of his functions as a director of the boards,” Absa said in a statement on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange’s (JSE’s) news service SENS.
Absa said it held a meeting with Pityana on the alleged dereliction of his board responsibilities and provided him with an opportunity to address the board on the matter. However, after extensive deliberations, it decided to let go of him.
UPDATE: Pityana confirms he will be taking Absa to court to challenge his removal
He accused the banking group of bullying and intimidating him into dropping his legal action against the South African Reserve Bank’s (Sarb’s) Prudential Authority (PA).
“[It’s] Absolute rubbish. Quite clearly this is a decision that is about seeking to bully and intimidate me out of exercising my constitutional rights to approach the courts where I feel that my rights have been undermined, and seek a declaration that the Reserve Bank has acted unlawfully,” Pityana said in an interview with eNCA.
He said Absa should have waited for his court case to conclude before dismissing him from the board.
“Absa has opposed this application and of course, if they had confidence in our courts they would have waited for the matter to be dealt with by the courts… but instead they have been putting pressure on me to resign from the board when they know that I’ve acquitted myself very well.”
Pityana axed from board positions
Earlier this month, Absa fired Pityana as its lead independent director, chairman of the remuneration committee and member of the directors’ affairs committee in its board with immediate effect.
The decision came just weeks after Pityana served court papers on the Prudential Authority of the Sarb, claiming his nomination to become Absa’s chairman had been unfairly blocked.
He claimed his nomination was blocked after Maria Ramos informally told 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.