Old Mutual loses legal bid to prevent former CEO Peter Moyo from returning to work

Insurer Old Mutual has lost its legal bid to prevent former chief executive, Peter Moyo from returning to work, BusinessDay reported.

BusinessLIVE said that the Johannesburg High Court dismissed the group’s application to prevent his return until the conclusion of his  appeal process.

“The application is dismissed in its entirety and the applicant is ordered to pay costs,” said Judge Brian Mashile.

The same court ruled at the end of July that Old Mutual acted unlawfully when dismissing Moyo, while also blocking the business from continuing a process of finding a replacement.

The court also ordered Old Mutual to pay Moyo’s legal costs.

The insurer had previously stated that following legal advice, “Mr Moyo is not permitted nor required to report for work”.

Moyo was suspended by the Old Mutual board on 23 May after it concluded that there had been a material breakdown in trust and confidence.

This followed prior engagements with Moyo over concerns about how a conflict of interest had been managed in relation to his investments in the NMT group of companies.

Moyo has denied any wrongdoing.

Old Mutual on Monday (2 September) published its interim results for the six months ended June 2019, with adjusted headline earnings rising 10% to R5.2 billion.

This, it said, was as a result of higher investment returns in South Africa and good profits contributed by personal finance and the rest of Africa business segments.

Old Mutual interim chief executive Iain Williamson described the results as ‘sound’ in challenging market conditions.

“Our result from operations increased by 2% to R4.5 billion from R4.426 billion in 2018. We delivered a return on net asset value of 16.4%, marginally down from the prior year. Our group capital position remains robust with a solvency ratio of 166%, which remains well within our target range.

“In addition to this, we have made good progress on balance sheet optimisation through debt raising, the completion of a R2.5 billion share buyback programme and further simplification of the Residual plc balance sheet,” said Williamson.

Williamson said that Old Mutual is firmly on track to deliver its cost efficiency target of R1 billion in savings by the end of 2019.

The group announced an interim dividend of 45 cents per share, the same as last year and in line with its dividend policy.

Read: Old Mutual delivers ‘sound’ results amid Moyo legal wrangle

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Old Mutual loses legal bid to prevent former CEO Peter Moyo from returning to work