Business paid tribute to David Brown, a well-known business leader, who was the chairperson of Northam Platinum and the lead independent non-executive director, who unexpectedly passed on Sunday, saying he was a stalwart of the southern African mining industry and his leadership had left an “indelible mark”.
Vodacom said Brown’s leadership left an indelible mark on the Vodacom team and his generous advice and wise counsel would be sorely missed.
Paul Dunne, CEO, Northam, said: “I am shocked and saddened at the sudden passing of David, a stalwart of the southern African mining industry. He was not only chairperson of Northam’s board but a friend and colleague. He worked at board level in the sector for more than 23 years.
“My fellow board members and executive team join me in extending our sincerest sympathy to his family and loved ones, friends and colleagues. David instinctively knew that people were at the centre of all things mining. He will be sorely missed,” he said.
Well known mining leader Bernard Swanepoel, on social media, said it was, “really sad news.”
Brown, 59, had a distinguished career and was also the former chief executive of Impala Platinum, the chairperson of Zimplats Holdings, chief executive and executive director at MC Mining, finance director at Amdahl South Africa and Principal at Exxon Mobil.
Northam and Vodacom yesterday issued Stock Exchange News Service statements to clarify contingency arrangements made to their corporate boards due to the unexpected passing of Brown, whom was rumoured to have had a heart attack.
Northam said: “It is with great sadness that the board of directors of Northam Holdings (“Northam Holdings Board”) and the board of directors of Northam Platinum advise of the untimely passing of Mr David Hugh Brown, the independent non-executive chairman of the Northam Holdings Board and Northam Platinum Board.“
Brown joined Northam in November 2017 and served as a member of Northam’s remuneration committee and chairperson of Northam’s nomination committee and investment committee. "Brown contributed a wealth of knowledge, experience and expertise and Northam is appreciative of Brown’s invaluable leadership and wise counsel during his tenure,“ Northam said.
Northam further advised that Temba Irvine Mvusi, Northam Holdings’ current lead independent director, had been appointed as the new chairperson of the Northam Holdings Board and, pursuant to the policy dealing with the nomination of directors, elected as a director of Northam Platinum and appointed as the new chairperson of Northam Platinum Board with immediate effect.
Hester Hickey, an independent non-executive director of Northam Holdings, had been appointed as Northam Holdings’ new lead independent director, with immediate effect.
A further announcement regarding the necessary appointments to the affected Northam Holdings board committees,
Meanwhile, Vodacom advised its shareholders yesterday of the untimely passing of Brown, saying: “David was highly regarded and widely respected by his fellow Board members. Over a period of more than 10 years, David made a significant contribution to the Board having served Vodacom with impeccable measure and sound judgement.
“The chairperson, on behalf of the Board, management and staff, extends deepest sympathies and condolences to David’s family during this difficult time,” it said.
Brown joined the Vodacom board in January 2012 and served as the chairman of the audit, risk and compliance committee from July 2013. He was appointed as the lead independent director in July 2020 and was a member of the remuneration committee.
Vodacom said Khumo Shuenyane would assume the role of lead independent director. Clive Thomson would assume the role of chairperson of the audit, risk and compliance committee and become a member of the remuneration committee.
These changes were in line with the announcement made by the company on November 25, 2021 and which were anticipated to take effect following Brown’s retirement from the board after the annual general meeting on July 18.