Tongaat Hulett appoints Aitken as interim CEO

Tongaat Hulett’s current CEO, Dan Marokane, leaves the sugar firm to head Eskom. Photo: File

Tongaat Hulett’s current CEO, Dan Marokane, leaves the sugar firm to head Eskom. Photo: File

Published Jan 19, 2024


CHIEF financial officer Rob Aitken would take over as interim CEO from Dan Marokane from March 1, 2024, Tongaat Hulett’s board said yesterday.

The appointment comes after it was announced last week that Tongaat Hulett’s lenders had voted overwhelmingly in favour of the Vision Consortium’s bid to take southern Africa’s biggest sugar producer out of business rescue, ending a period of uncertainty for the more than 100-year-old company and its employees.

Tongaat Hulett was placed in business rescue in October 2022 when it emerged that key former executives had allegedly manipulated accounts for years, and after new management failed to right the group after difficulties experienced through the Covid pandemic.

The company said yesterday, “As announced on 8 December 2023, Dan was appointed as the new CEO of Eskom. In line with the commitment at the time of his Eskom appointment, to ensure a smooth handover, Dan will work with the Tongaat team and the business rescue practitioners (BRPs) until the end of February 2024.

“With the adoption of Vision’s business rescue plan and the planning for its implementation in progress, Dan’s handover period will enable a smooth transition.”

Tongaat Hulett said Marokane had been an integral member of the Tongaat board of directors and its executive team and had played a pivotal role since his appointment in 2018.

Through his leadership he had guided the company in support of the BRPs throughout the business rescue process, the company said.

Tongaat Hulett outlined Aitken’s career path.

“Rob joined Tongaat in January 2018 to improve its processes and systems and has been a core member of the team playing a critical role in the turnaround plans of Tongaat. He has provided invaluable support to the BRPs since October 2022 and throughout the business rescue process.

“Rob is a registered chartered accountant with the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants. He has held various senior executive roles over the past 15 years and has developed a deep understanding of the sugar industry and the operations of Tongaat. Rob has demonstrated leadership, grit and commitment through challenging and uncertain times,” it said.