Was the suspension of IT industry personality Mthunzi Mdwaba as deputy CEO and director of JSE-listed Kelly Group part of a power struggle between him and the company’s CEO?
TechCentral has learnt that Mdwaba’s suspension may have been the result of a battle with Kelly’s CEO, Grenville Wilson.
Mdwaba is also now the subject of some sort of “investigation”.
A source close to the situation says Wilson was expected to retire soon, and the board had pegged Mdwaba as his successor.
The group put out a terse statement to shareholders on Wednesday afternoon saying Mdwaba had been removed from the board.
However, the statement indicated that he was still in the employ of the group. Mdwaba is CEO of Kelly’s technology training subsidiary, Torque IT.
Kelly Group CEO Grenville Wilson was evasive when phoned for comment on Wednesday. He refused to say why Mdwaba had been removed from the board, saying it was a board issue.
“I can’t comment beyond what is in the Sens statement,” he said.
It appears Mdwaba and Wilson had a falling out over the plans the former had for the business.
The source, who asked to remain unnamed given the sensitive nature of the situation, says succession discussions with the board had started in early March, and Mdwaba was expected to take the reins on 1 October.
However, after the two men apparently fell out, Wilson did not seem as keen to have Mdwaba take over the business and kept him at arm’s length.
In a lengthy e-mail to Wilson, shown to TechCentral, Mdwaba complains about being locked out of important decisions, which he felt he should have been party to because of the board’s decision to promote him to CEO when Wilson retired.
The source also says Mdwaba has yet to receive any details of why he has been suspended. Nor has he received any details of why he is being investigated.
It is unclear why the board approved Mdwaba’s suspension. Kelly chairman Moss Ngoasheng is in New York and unavailable for comment.
Neither Mdwaba nor Wilson could be reached for comment on the matter. Wilson has taken leave and will only return to the office on 7 September.
Mdwaba joined Kelly Group in August 2008 when the JSE-listed company bought Torque IT for R38m and was appointed to the board three months later.
Well-known in the IT industry, Mdwaba has served for various technology associations, including Business Unity SA and the Black IT Forum.
He is also a member of the steering committee tasked with crafting the black economic empowerment charter that will govern the technology industry. — Candice Jones, TechCentral