A group of South African judges has ruled in favour of Old Mutual Limited in a case filed against the insurance company by its former Chief Executive Officer, Peter Moyo. This brings an end to the protracted litigation, which centred on Moyo’s claim that his appointment was wrongfully terminated.
The backstory: Nairametrics has been following the story since May last year when the Chief Executive Officer was suspended from his job. Old Mutual Limited later fired him, citing “material breakdown of trust” and accusing him of allegedly pocketing some R30 million worth of dividends linked to NMT Capital, which he co-founded. Old Mutual owns a 20% stake in NMT Capital.
On his part, Moyo had claimed that the company’s board decided to terminate his appointment after he made “protected disclosures” about using the company’s money to take care of his legal bills. CNBC Africa also reported that Moyo linked his firing to conflict of interest resulting from Old Mutual’s managed separation from its UK parent company.
Peter Moyo later sued the company for wrongful termination and won. Following the court win, Old Mutual sent him another letter further terminating his contract for the second time. This, of course, constituted a contempt of court on the part of Old Mutual, a disrespectful offense which legal analysts speculated could cause those involved landing jail terms and paying heavy fines.
As expected, Old Mutual’s second termination of Peter Moyo’s appointment resulted in another lawsuit. While the litigation lasted, the position of CEO remained vacant because the company was legally prohibited from hiring a replacement. Now that the court has ruled that the former CEO’s firing was legal, the insurance company can now hire a new CEO. This is good news for the company.
[READ MORE: Old Mutual appoints Oyinlade as new MD)
On the other hand, Peter Moyo said he is very disappointed by the verdict. As a matter of fact, he is contemplating appealing the ruling.
Please note that Old Mutual Limited is a leading South African insurance company that has operations in over six African countries, including Nigeria.