matlare joins tiger brands

Zweli Mokgata

Zweli Mokgata

Tiger Brands, which is embroiled in yet another price-fixing scandal, yesterday appointed former SABC boss Peter Matlare to replace Nick Dennis as its chief executive.

Dennis is taking early retirement effective on February 19.

Matlare, who is currently Vodacom's chief strategy and business development officer, joins Tiger Brands on April 1, amid allegations that the food group is implicated in a second price-fixing case in just three months.

Tiger Brands was fined R99million by the Competition Tribunal in November last year for its involvement in a bread price-fixing cartel in the Western Cape.

The Competition Commission has now found that Adcock Ingram, a unit of Tiger Brands, worked with rivals to fix prices of drugs supplied to hospitals.

Matlare declined to comment on how he planned to deal with the newest price-fixing allegations, saying he would only speak about Tiger Brands when he took up his new post.

Adcock Ingram, along with Dismed Criticare, Thusanong Health Care and Fresenius Kabi South Africa, allegedly colluded to manipulate prices on pharmaceutical and hospital products.

Questions are being raised about the depth of involvement of senior management at the company.

Matlare will be faced with the mountainous task of weeding out dishonest behaviour.

Shan Ramburuth, the competition commissioner, said: "Collusive behaviour would undoubtedly be one of the contributing factors to higher prices in healthcare markets," adding that the commission was treating the pharmaceutical case as separate and unrelated to last year's bread cartel case.

He said: "The fact that there is a common firm in two separate cases means that the company would do well to think about how it does business."

Matlare was chief executive of the SABC from 2001 until January 2005, and left the state broadcaster under a cloud of controversy.

His resignation followed rumours of a dispute with managing news director Snuki Zikalala.