The general counsel of Gold Fields, Michael Fleischer, had quit amid a probe by the US Securities and Exchange Commission into the sale of a stake in its South Deep mine under the government’s broad-based black economic empowerment programme, the gold producer said yesterday. “The board accepted Michael’s resignation and would like to express appreciation for his years of dedicated service,” Gold Fields said. It “is committed to hiring a person that can help to implement the changes” needed after its own probe into the empowerment deal. The firm did not say why Fleischer, 52, had resigned, and he and company spokesman Sven Lunsche declined to comment. Fleischer has not been accused of any wrongdoing. The company said the 2010 deal to issue 600 000 shares and sell 10 percent of South Deep to a black-owned group did not “consistently meet the high standards set by Gold Fields”. Chief executive Nick Holland waived his 2013 bonus because of concerns over the deal and the board pledged to improve transparency and communication. Convicted bank robber Gayton McKenzie, now a businessman and author, said he had worked on the deal and it benefited some of his acquaintances. He denied any wrongdoing. Mining companies must sell or cede at least 26 percent of their local operations to previously disadvantaged citizens. Gold Fields shares closed 2.6 percent up at R37.45 yesterday. – Bloomberg