CEO bloodbath in South Africa

Numerous high-profile chief executives have announced they are stepping down over the past five months, including a few well-known tech and telecoms CEOs.

The COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdown have put tremendous pressure on companies, with tough trading conditions and dwindling revenues.

Many industries were prevented from operating or were only allowed limited operations, during alert level 4 and 5 of the lockdown.

In an attempt to stave off retrenchment, many companies introduced salary cuts and short time, but in some cases, it was not enough.

The tough trading conditions, combined with political and economic uncertainty, took their toll on executives.

Since the lockdown started in March, many South African CEOs have announced their resignations.

While many of the resignations are directly linked to the lockdown, others most likely considered it previously and saw the lockdown as an opportune time to step down.

Here is a list of prominent chief executives who have announced their resignations in recent months.


Webafrica CEO Tim Wyatt-Gunning

Webafrica CEO Tim Wyatt-Gunning stepped down on 1 July 2020 and was replaced by Sean Nourse, who has served as MWEB CEO for the past three years.

Wyatt-Gunning has been Webafrica CEO since October 2011, and said it was the right time to find a successor with fresh ideas.


Liquid Telecom South Africa CEO Reshaad Sha

In June, Reshaad Sha announced that he had resigned as Liquid Telecom South Africa CEO to head up a new artificial intelligence venture.

Sha was appointed as the CEO of Liquid Telecom South Africa on 1 June 2018, where he was responsible for the company’s successful turnaround plan.


Net1 CEO Herman Kotze

In August, Net1 announced that its CEO and director Herman Kotze would step down at the end of September.

Kotze has been at Net1 for over two decades and will consult with the company to ensure a smooth transition.


Jasco Electronics CEO Mark Janse van Vuuren

Jasco Electronics CEO Mark Janse van Vuuren resigned on 31 May 2020 following a restructuring of the company.

Janse van Vuuren has been at the company for 12 years and resigned to pursue new interests.


Uber Sub-Saharan Africa GM Alon Lits

Uber Sub-Saharan Africa GM and director Alon Lits announced in July that he is leaving the company after seven years.

Lits was part of Uber’s first venture into Africa in Johannesburg in 2013 and rapidly expanded Uber across 15 other cities in Sub Saharan Africa.


MTN CEO Rob Shuter

In March, MTN announced that its group president and CEO Rob Shuter will be stepping down from his role at the end of his contract.

In August, MTN said Ralph Mupita has been appointed as president and CEO of MTN Group effective from 1 September 2020, with incumbent CEO Rob Shuter set to step down on 31 August.

Robert Rob Shuter MTN CEO


Denel CEO Danie du Toit

In July, Denel announced that CEO Danie du Toit will step down on 15 August 2020. It did not give reasons for du Toit’s departure.

Denel, which manufactures aerospace and military hardware, has been struggling financially and had difficulties paying salaries.


Spur CEO Pierre van Tonder

Spur CEO Pierre van Tonder announced in July that he had resigned after working at the company for 38 years. He served as Spur CEO since 1996.

One month later, the restaurant chain announced that its COO, Mark Farrelly, has resigned with effect from the end of August.


AngloGold Ashanti CEO Kelvin Dushnisky

AngloGold Ashanti CEO Kelvin Dushnisky announced that he would step down for personal reasons on 1 September 2020.

Dushnisky, who is currently with his family in Toronto, said he is available to assist with a smooth handover until February 2021.


Gold Fields CEO Nick Holland

Gold Fields CEO Nick Holland announced he will be stepping down in 2021 after leading the company for 13 years.

The company’s Cheryl Carolus said a global search for a suitable replacement will commence soon.


Delta Property Fund CEO Sandile Nomvete

Property Delta CEO Sandile Nomvete and CFO Shaneel Maharaj resigned with immediate effect on 24 August 2020.

The company’s chief operating officer and chief investment officer, Otis Tshabalala, also resigned.


Metair CEO Theo Loock

In May, Metair CEO Theo Loock announced he has decided to take early retirement and will step down on 31 December 2020.

Loock will also step down as chairperson and non-executive director of all Metair subsidiaries and associated companies.

Now read: MTN appoints Ralph Mupita as CEO

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CEO bloodbath in South Africa