Ascendis Health on Friday announced that Mark Sardi resigned as chief executive of the South African health and well-being company with effect from December 31, in the wake of getting shareholder approval for the group’s recapitalisation. Photo: Supplied
Ascendis Health on Friday announced that Mark Sardi resigned as chief executive of the South African health and well-being company with effect from December 31, in the wake of getting shareholder approval for the group’s recapitalisation. Photo: Supplied

Mark Sardi steps down as Ascendis Health CEO after 2 years with the company

By Philippa Larkin Time of article published Oct 25, 2021

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ASCENDIS Health on Friday announced that Mark Sardi resigned as chief executive of the South African health and well-being company with effect from December 31, in the wake of getting shareholder approval for the group’s recapitalisation.

Earlier this month shareholders in favour of the recapitalisation Ascendis Health, which aims to settle outstanding debt of approximately €444 million (more than R7.6 billion) owed to senior lenders.

The firm said Sardi yesterday had joined the company in October 2019 with a mandate to turn Ascendis Health around operationally and fix the balance sheet.

In his two years with the group the leverage had been reduced by R7.5bn in a debt for assets swap, in a highly complex and unusual transaction in the South African listed sector.

Total normalised earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortisation (Ebitda) grew 32 percent per annum from R827m to R1.446bn; while normalised Ebitda from continuing operations, which were, the Ascendis Health assets that remained post the group recapitalisation, grew 82 percent on a compound basis between 2019 and 2021.

Ascendis Health said Sardi had navigated a challenging liquidity environment during Covid-19 to successfully service high levels of patient demand and play a meaningful role in addressing the humanitarian crisis in South Africa.

Under Sardi, strategy and business plans had been set in the group’s remaining operations to continue capitalising on earnings momentum and drive shareholder value.

“Mark has agreed to make himself available for six months to assist his successor if required.

“We’d like to thank Mark for all his efforts and success in turning the group around and fixing the balance sheet.

“We wish him all the very best in his future endeavours,” the firm said.

The board of directors of Ascendis Health said it was reviewing various options to replace Sardi given the new structure and size of Ascendis Health post the group recapitalisation.

Retail Activist Investors, led by Harry Smit, said in a tweet on the weekend: “Debt restructure is complete.

“It is no surprise to hear of Mark’s resignation.

“He was brought into the company to restructure debt and now that’s completed he is moving on.

“Each of the divisions has a chief executive and management team so it’s business as usual.”

The firm is now considering taking the company private as an option in the short-to-medium-term after it completes the recapitalisation.

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BUSINESS REPORT ONLINE

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