Peter Moyo vs Old Mutual vs Trevor Manuel: a firing timeline

Peter Moyo is back at Old Mutual after his dismissal was declared unlawful.
Peter Moyo is back at Old Mutual after his dismissal was declared unlawful.
Image: SUPPLIED

The Gauteng High Court has ruled that the dismissal of Old Mutual CEO Peter Moyo was unlawful and he should be reinstated temporarily.

Moyo returned to the office on Wednesday despite Old Mutual confirming it would appeal the decision.

Here is what you need to know:

Suspension

In May, Old Mutual suspended Moyo hours before the insurer’s annual general meeting, claiming that a conflict of interest due to his involvement with NMT Capital resulted in "a material breakdown in the relationship of trust and confidence".

The board, then chaired by former finance minister Trevor Manuel, suspended Moyo with immediate effect.

Moyo had rejoined Old Mutual in June 2017 as CEO of Old Mutual Emerging Markets, and later of Old Mutual, having left in 2005 to take over at Alexander Forbes.

Dismissal

Old Mutual fired Moyo in June, citing that the breakdown was attributed to a conflicting interest declared by NMT Capital during its 2018 financial year.

Sunday Times reported that in the second half of 2018 board members requested a report on Moyo's related-party transactions, and this led to "various concerns", including two declarations of ordinary dividends by NMT Capital, with Moyo's share being R30.6m.

Moyo fires back

Moyo launched an urgent application at the high court in Johannesburg to declare his sacking as unlawful, accusing chairperson Trevor Manuel of spearheading his dismissal.

Sunday Times reported on June 30 that Moyo said Old Mutual should stop the process of appointing a new leader because he wasn't given a hearing.

'Inconsistency'

Moyo’s lawyers accused Old Mutual of not having enough reasons for firing Moyo and said the breakdown in the relationship between both parties was not real but manufactured by the insurer.

The judgment endorsed arguments submitted by Moyo’s lawyers that the reasons given by Old Mutual when it first dismissed and fired him were inconsistent.

"At all times, Old Mutual had a separate director on the NMT board. Importantly, he voted for all these dividends. It is therefore difficult to understand any conflict when Old Mutual was party to these decisions through this director's representation."

Moyo vs Manuel

On July 7, Sunday Times reported that Moyo took aim at Old Mutual's directors, including Manuel.

In part B of his application, Moyo stated that he wanted Manuel and the 13 other non-executive directors to be declared delinquent under Section 162 of the Companies Act.

Moyo’s lawyers said Old Mutual directors neglected their fiduciary duties, using the way in which the matter was handled by the company as a basis.

Reinstatement

On Tuesday, the Johannesburg high court ordered Old Mutual to immediately reinstate Moyo and to pay all his legal costs because his suspension and subsequent dismissal in June was unlawful.

A judgment by judge Brian Mashile said the insurer failed to follow the terms of Moyo’s employment contract when he was dismissed.

Mashile said Moyo should be temporarily reinstated pending part B of his court application in which he is seeking to have all directors of the Old Mutual board, including Manuel, declared delinquent.


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