Metair’s board has announced Paul O’Flaherty as the new CEO and as a member of the company’s social and ethics committee, with effect February 1, 2024.
On December 6, the automotive component and battery manufacturer said that its current CEO Sjoerd Douwenga planned to resign for health reasons, as well as from his role as an executive director of Metair January 31, 2024. The board said in December that Douwenga would remain available to the board until March 31, to ensure smooth leadership continuity.
The appointment had followed a rigorous process. O’Flaherty was a Chartered Accountant (SA) and joined Metair from EY Parthenon (Africa) (EY), which he led from February 2021 to January 2024.
He began his career at PricewaterhouseCoopers Inc. in 1986 and served as an audit partner for six years in the energy and mining sector. Since 2001, he served in both CFO and CEO roles in JSE listed companies (Group Five and ArcelorMittal South Africa), the public sector and in large multinational private companies.
“O’Flaherty has a remarkable track record across multiple emerging markets coupled with in-depth experience in turnarounds, restructurings, mergers and acquisitions, and programme and project management.”
Prior to joining EY, he had overall responsibility for the $1 billion (R18.6bn currently) separation of Absa Bank from Barclays. He has extensive experience across the manufacturing, mining, infrastructure, energy, trading, and financial services industries.
O’Flaherty had entered into a 36-month contract with Metair.
Metair’s share price traded 0.24% higher at R155.55 yesterday afternoon on the JSE, slightly higher than the R15.20 it traded at a year ago on the same date. The price has however fallen 14.3% from R17.75 it traded at on December 29, 2023.
At the end of November, Metair and its subsidiary in Romania, Rombat SA was one of several manufacturers of automotive lead-acid starter batteries to receive objections from the European Commission about alleged EU antitrust violations between 2004 and 2017.
Rombat said in December it was considering the objections in detail ahead of providing a response to the commission within two months, and that it was prohibited from disclosing any further information on the matter currently.
In December Metair also said its Ford Project volumes, the major growth driver in its automotive component operations, were in line with expectations and the group’s investee companies involved in the project were performing as expected.