Danie van der Merwe. Image: Steinhoff International.
JOHANNESBURG - Embattled Steinhoff International Holdings has assembled a crisis team of insiders in an attempt to save the global retailer amid a crunch meeting with bankers that may determine the company’s future.

Chief Operating Officer Danie van der Merwe has been announced as the the new interim chief executive officer.

van der Merwe is the owner of Mattress Firm in the U.S. and Poundland in the U.K. He replaced Markus Jooste who left the company after the scandal of accounting irregularities hit the company, which saw them lose massive market share.

Alexandre Nodale, CEO of Steinhoff-owned French furniture chain Conforama, has been appointed deputy CEO, Steinhoff said in a statement Tuesday.

The two have the daunting task of convincing lenders to support the company following the recent troubles that it has seen. This comes after the Independent Regulatory Board for Auditors (Irba) launched an investigation into Deloitte South Africa’s probable complicity in the company’s withheld financials and chairperson Christo Wiese stepping down as pressure on the board mounted. Irba said on Friday that it was investigating Deloitte South Africa’s conduct as the company that had audited Steinhoff’s books during the financial years 2014 - 2016.

Steinhoff is audited by Deloitte South Africa, which has confirmed that it will fully co-operate with Irba during the investigation. Irba chief executive Bernard Agulhas said the board had always cautioned that more attention needed to be given to auditor independence.

Steinhoff’s share price has fallen since the company admitted to accounting irregularities, warning shareholders this week that its earnings for this year and 2016 were not accurate and would thus be restated. Wiese resigned on Thursday night, saying he wanted to reinforce independent governance and address any possible conflict of interest.

Louis Du Preez was also announced as the new commercial director of the company.