Branded rolls of paper are seen at a Mondi production facility. File picture: Simphiwe Mbokazi
Branded rolls of paper are seen at a Mondi production facility. File picture: Simphiwe Mbokazi

Mondi’s chief executive Peter Oswald announces his resignation

By Sandile Mchunu Time of article published Jan 13, 2020

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JOHANNESBURG - JSE-listed Mondi plc announced on Friday that its chief executive, Peter Oswald, will step down from his position of the international packaging and paper group - a move that came as a surprise to industry analysts.

Oswald said it had been an honour to have worked for Mondi and he was extremely proud of what they had achieved together. “While I am sad to be leaving, I know the group is in the hands of a strong board and an experienced senior management team that will ensure its continued success,” Oswald said. Oswald had been appointed chief executive in May 2017, but he has been with the group for more than 27 years.

Mondi said that its nominations committee would now begin the process of searching for a successor.

“We are pleased to confirm that Andrew King, group chief financial officer, has agreed to take on the role of interim chief executive after Peter steps down and until a successor is appointed,” the group said.

In paying tribute to Oswald, Mondi’s chairperson, David Williams, said he had made an immense contribution to the growth and development of Mondi since joining in 1992, most notably during his tenure as chief executive of the former Europe and International division and subsequently as chief executive.

“His drive to grow the business and his focus on ensuring Mondi’s long-term sustainable future have been invaluable to Mondi. The board thanks Peter for his contribution to the group and wishes him all the best for the future,” Williams said.

Jordan Weir, a trader at Citadel, said Oswald’s departure came as a surprise as he had a large hand in simplifying the overall business and pointing it towards a sustainable future.

“When a chief executive leaves, the company’s share price usually tends to jump in anticipation of new blood taking on the role. In Oswald’s case, however, the share price dropped, indicating that shareholders were slightly disappointed that his tenure was short-lived,” Weir said.

Mondi share price slid by 3.01 percent on Friday to R307.80 a share, down from Thursday’s closing price of R317.34 after the group announced his imminent departure.

Nesan Nair, a senior portfolio manager at Sasfin Securities, also said that it came as a surprise that Oswald had stepped down.

In the third quarter to end September 2019, Mondi reported an 18 percent decline in underlying earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation to 383 million (R6.11 billion) compared to 466m reported in the previous corresponding period. 


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