The JSE opened weaker on Wednesday‚ as sentiment was hit by a massive sell-off in Steinhoff following the announcement that long-serving CEO Markus Jooste was stepping down with immediate effect.
Steinhoff’s share price fell 61.5% immediately after the opening‚ as shareholders in the previously highly rated company dumped shares in an unprecedented manner.
Steinhoff has been plagued by allegations of dodgy and unreported accounting practices for months‚ amid a potential investigation by German tax authorities.
The company announced in a statement late on Tuesday that Jooste‚ who has been CEO since 2000‚ had tendered his resignation. The group’s chairman‚ retail tycoon Christo Wiese‚ alongside former Pepkor CEO Pieter Erasmus‚ will run Steinhoff until a new CEO is appointed‚
“The supervisory board of Steinhoff wishes to advise shareholders that new information has come to light today which relates to accounting irregularities requiring further investigation‚” the statement said.
The group was set to release annual results on Wednesday‚ but previously indicated they would be unaudited.