Old Mutual chief executive Peter Moyo has reported back for duty on Wednesday after being granted victory in the Johannesburg high court on Tuesday.
Moyo confidently walked into the Old Mutual headquarters around 8:00am, wearing a dark blue suit and flagged by his attorney, Eric Mabuza. With his morning coffee in his hand the newly reinstated chief executive swifty moved away from the entrance of the building, up the escalators and into closed doors to caucus with the legal representatives of the JSE-listed financial services giant.
Before heading to the closed door meeting between the two parties, Moyo instructed security personnel, who had prevented the large media contingent gathered at the entrance of the building, to allow journalists to observe the proceedings.
“This is public space anybody from the public can come in so you can’t stop them,” he told the security guards.
Moyo’s lawyers, Mabuza Attorneys, sent a scathing letter to Mutual’s legal representatives in the late hours of Tuesday night, informing them that their client would return to work despite the company indicating that it would appeal the ruling.
“Your client’s assertion that Mr Moyo is not entitled to return to work is based on incorrect legal advice,” the letter reads.
“Contrary to popular belief, an order for interim or interlocutory relief is indeed appealable, the noting of an application for leave to appeal in respect thereof does not automatically suspend the decision,” it adds.
The court found that Moyo’s dismissal in June was unlawful and that he should return to work with immediate effect. Furthermore, Old Mutual has been indicted from appointing anyone to the position of CEO.
Moyo’s permanent reinstatement is pending part B of his application.This seeks to declare the directors of Old Mutual as delinquent, which would prevent them from holding any directorships for several years.
Shares in Old Mutual fell by 5.5% by the close of day following the ruling of the court.
Old Mutual dismissed Moyo, accusing him of misconduct because of an alleged conflict of interest with the NMT Group, an investment holding company co-founded by Moyo.
Although Moyo had declared that he co-founded the company upon his appointment as chief executive, Old Mutual said that he had not provided an “acceptable explanation” for the declaration of ordinary dividends by NMT Capital. Moyo had received R30.6-million from the total amount of R115-million paid out by the company. Old Mutual has a 20% stake in NMT.
Old Mutual said in a statement it will appeal the ruling on the basis that Moyo’s application to be reinstated was “ill-conceived, contained a number of false allegations, and should have been dismissed”.
Old Mutual said it plans to argue in a higher court that it acted lawfully when it terminated Moyo’s contract.