Sipho Pityana loses key positions on Absa board

Businessman stays on, but is stripped of committee jobs

12 November 2021 - 19:48 By TimesLIVE
Sipho Pityana
Sipho Pityana
Image: Simphiwe Nkwali

Businessman Sipho Pityana has been removed from key positions on the Absa board following his court action against the Prudential Authority (PA) over what he said was an unfair process that stymied his chance of being Absa chairperson.

In a statement on SENS late on Friday, Absa told shareholders “that the Absa Group and Absa Bank boards have resolved that Sipho M Pityana will cease to be lead independent director of Absa Group and Absa Bank, chairman of the remuneration committee [remco] and, as a consequence, member of the directors’ affairs committee [DAC], with immediate effect”.

Absa said he remains on the board. 

It added that the boards will appoint a new lead independent director and chair of the remco and advise shareholders in due course.

Absa did not provide reasons for this decision.

Pityana’s departure from the Absa board comes after a high-profile spat with the Prudential Authority in which Pityana launched legal action against the PA for allegedly blocking his appointment as Absa chair.

He is seeking a declaratory order against the regulator, alleging that it acted ultra vires — beyond its legal power or authority — in the way it assessed his candidacy for chair of the Absa board.

The regulator is due to file its response to Pityana’s legal action next week. 

In an interview with Business Times last month, Pityana said he had no intention of resigning from the bank’s board and his legal action should not affect the board’s functions or his relationship with colleagues. He, however, acknowledged that some board members were unhappy about his decision to go to court.

The high-profile dispute has seen the bank draw criticism with some analysts saying it’s disappointing that the bank had made yet another misstep with the board succession and this showed a leadership team divided.

It emerged following Pityana’s court action against the PA, that he had left the AngloGold Ashanti board, where he was chair, following an allegation and investigation into a charge of sexual harassment against him.

Pityana has previously denied the allegation.

Pityana could not immediately be reached for comment on Friday night.

TimesLIVE/Business Times


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