Old Mutual CEO Peter Moyo. Photo by Nokuthula Mbatha/African News Agency (ANA).

DURBAN -The Black Management Forum (BMF) said on Wednesday night that it was concerned at Old Mutual's attempts to remove its CEO Peter Moyo, and that in trying to do so, the company had flouted corporate governance and labour laws. 

The matter came before the Gauteng High Court on Tuesday, where it was ruled that Moyo's firing on breach of trust grounds was unlawful and illegal and that he should be temporarily reinstated. Old Mutual has said it will appeal the decision. 

"We have been following this impasse very closely and have been concerned about the way Old Mutual sought to remove a competent black CEO under the guise of a concern about a conflict of interest," said BMF via a statement. 

"To us, this has always appeared to be a smokescreen designed to mask the real issues at play. We are pleased that the court has, in its ruling, effectively reinforced the principle that companies cannot just get rid of employees, more especially black senior executives, without following proper procedure."

BMF was concerned at the apparent lack of compliance with basic governance principles by the Old Mutual board, according to the statement, "more so when such is done at the expense of those who have a vested interest not only in Old Mutual but in good corporate governance in general". 

Good governance should be a priority for the private sector as much as for the public sector, said the statement. 

"We are aware that Old Mutual has elected to appeal the judgment, as they are entitled to, but BMF’s view remains that the corporate governance issues highlighted in this judgment need to be seriously considered," said the statement. 

African News Agency (ANA)