2 minute read
5 Nov 2014
8:03 pm

Gordhan tired to fire finre senior exec over office size

One the reasons former PPC CEO Ketso Gordhan tried to fire a senior executive was because she had a bigger office than him, the cement company's board said on Wednesday.

FILE PICTURE: Former PPC CEO Ketso Gordhan. Picture: Gallo Images / Business Day / Martin Rhodes

The board said Gordhan was in breach of a separation agreement by recently making “defamatory” remarks about the board in the media, and was also in breach of an undertakings given by his lawyers, Harris Nupen Molebatsi Inc.

“So far the board has acted with restraint and has avoided a public spat with Mr Gordhan,” it said in a statement.

“The board had previously indicated to his lawyers that if Mr Gordhan continues to ignore the terms of his separation agreement, and continues to make disparaging comments about the board, the executives and the company, the board will be forced to place into the public domain, the embarrassing circumstances surrounding the reasons for his resignation.”

Gordhan could not be immediately reached for comment.

PPC said in September that he had stepped down “due to differences of opinion with the board”.

Gordhan subsequently said the board opposed his “desire to exit a senior executive” who he believed was putting the company at risk. He then reportedly tried to get shareholders to help him get his job back and put in a more effective board.

The board on Wednesday named the PPC senior executive as chief financial officer Tryphosa Ramano and said Gordhan gave the following reasons for wanting her fired:

— She had a bigger office than him.

— She had requested reserved parking, which was declined.

— She refused to participate in a voluntary salary sacrifice scheme, which Gordhan had initiated to bridge the wage gap between the highest and lowest paid worker.

–She was interrogating a loan agreement which Gordhan had verbally agreed to with a potential funder.

–She had ill-treated an employee, who Gordhan had employed. This employee and her husband worked in the same department.

“The board was of the view that the reasons advanced by Mr Gordhan were not substantive and did not warrant the termination of the CFO,” it said.

“The current board has the expertise to run the company, and has never faced criticism in this regard until accepting the resignation of the previous CEO.”

Gordhan told Bloomberg on Tuesday that PPC may struggle to continue an Africa expansion plan because a deal to obtain US200 million of funding was close to collapse.

He said the loan from a development finance institution probably would not be completed unless he received shareholder backing to return to the post. He reportedly declined to identify the lender.

“That institution met with the company and said we won’t do the deal with you,” Gordhan was quoted as saying.

“Growth stops unless you can find an equally attractive source of equity funding which, at the moment, is very unlikely.”