With ironic timing, EOH launches whistle-blower app - TechCentral

With ironic timing, EOH launches whistle-blower app

EOH Holdings CEO Stephen van Coller

EOH Holdings, the South African IT company reeling after an anonymous complaint prompted Microsoft to abruptly cancel partner agreements with it, has created an app that will make that process easier for future whistle-blowers.

Expose-It, which was made available for download on Monday, enables those with sensitive information about their company or organisation to pass it on to relevant authorities without fear of being identified. The app is designed to encourage “the safe, anonymous exposure of wrongdoing, both within EOH and without,” CEO Stephen van Coller said in an e-mail to employees.

The irony of the timing won’t be lost on staff. EOH shares plunged last week after Microsoft ended its association with the South African company. TechCentral reported that a whistle-blower’s allegations about a South African government software deal were behind the US software giant’s decision. EOH’s public-sector contracts have long been a matter of scrutiny, and the company said on Tuesday that it’s probing all such deals over the past five years with the help of a law firm.

Van Coller, a former executive of lender Absa Group and wireless carrier MTN Group, was brought in by EOH last year partly to restore the company’s reputation and boost corporate governance. The shares have plunged 77% in the past 12 months, and are the worst performers on South Africa’s benchmark index in 2019.

“Compliance is critical to our reputation, but as the old saying goes, culture eats governance for breakfast,” Van Coller said in his e-mail introducing Expose-It to staff. The app “will help further elevate our corporate culture”.  — Reported by John Bowker and Loni Prinsloo, (c) 2019 Bloomberg LP

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