Old Mutual shareholders are split on whether the South African insurer should pony up and settle with Chief Executive Officer Peter Moyo or run the risk of a R250 million damages claim.
All Weather Capital is up for a settlement if it will end the feud. Allan Gray, Old Mutual’s second-biggest investor, is against the idea. Sanlam Investment Management wants to wait and see how the court process unfolds, while Prudential Investment Managers reckons a payout of that magnitude would be “egregious”.
Moyo fired the salvo when he issued Old Mutual with a summons seeking damages if he can’t get his job back. The 174-year-old firm shot back, saying it will vigorously defend any claim, and that it was correct to dismiss the CEO.
The battle spilled into the open when Moyo was suspended toward the end of May and then fired three weeks later, which he successfully challenged in court as being unfair.
“We are not opposed to a R250m settlement if it achieves an expedited closure to this unfortunate and costly dispute,” All Weather Capital Chief Investment Officer Shane Watkins said in response to emailed questions.
The board should then independently re-evaluate whether Trevor Manuel should continue as chairman, he said.
“The board has handled this matter appallingly and changes are necessary and desirable,” Watkins said. — Bloomberg.