EOH has appointed Xolani Mkhwanazi as chairman of the board with immediate effect, replacing co-founder Asher Bohbot, who stepped down at the end of February amid a major shake-up in corporate governance at the listed IT services group.
Mkhwanazi will have his hands full, with his first task being to deal with the findings of an investigation commissioned by EOH and conducted by law firm ENSafrica into the group’s public-sector contracts.
“Having been presented the preliminary findings, Dr Mkhwanazi and the board will assess these, ask for such additional work as may be required, and engage with relevant stakeholders where appropriate,” EOH said in a statement on Wednesday.
“Relevant findings and associated actions will be disclosed as soon as practically possible after the next steps have been agreed by the board.”
EOH’s share price fell precipitously in February after TechCentral reported that Microsoft had terminated longstanding partner agreements with the group after an anonymous whistle-blower filed a complaint with the US Securities & Exchange Commission about alleged malfeasance involving a South African department of defence software procurement deal.
EOH CEO Stephen Van Coller, appointed in 2018, vowed an investigation into this and other government contracts, and has promised a sweeping review and overhaul of the group’s corporate governance processes and procedures.
“We are very pleased with the appointment of Dr Mkhwanazi to the board,” Van Coller said in Wednesday’s statement. “His track record of providing courageous leadership in challenging business environments, coupled with his commitment to sound corporate governance, were key drivers for his appointment.”
He said Mkhwanazi is a “strong addition” to the board and “will reinforce the newly appointed executive team on our journey to ethical leadership and building the EOH of the future”.
Mkhwanazi was chairman of BHP Billiton in South Africa from 2008 to 2015 and was president and chief operating officer of South Africa Aluminium with BHP Billiton from February 2005.
He has served as CEO of Bateman Africa and energy regulator Nersa.
Prior to that, he held senior positions at the CSIR. He is also a former deputy chairman of the Public Investment Corporation. — (c) 2019 NewsCentral Media