Nampak’s CEO Erik Smuts resigns, appoints Phildon Roux on interim basis

SOUTH AFRICA – Packaging company Nampak’s CEO Erik Smuts has resigned, effective April 20, and will be replaced on an interim basis by Phildon Roux.

Nampak says Smuts’s decision to step down follows a substantial restructuring process, including both the imminent disposal of noncore assets and divestitures from unprofitable operations, materially changing the size and nature of the CEO’s role.

“The board would like to thank Mr. Smuts for his loyal service over 25 years to Nampak and especially for leading the company through the Covid-19 pandemic and laying a strong foundation for delivering the turnaround initiatives,” the Nampak board said.

Smuts has been at the helm for three years since he took over the role of CEO succeeding Andre de Ruyter who resigned to join Eskom.

Following his resignation, the company has appointed Phildon Roux, an independent non-executive director, as interim CEO effective April 20, saying it was confident he will leverage his “extensive and strategic experience” in the fast-moving consumer goods sector, as well as his skill in organizational turnarounds.

Subsequently, Roux’s membership on the nominations and remuneration committee will terminate on April 20 and Tjaart Kruger, an independent non-executive director, will take over the role.

“The board welcomes Mr. Roux to his new role as interim CEO and is confident that he will leverage his extensive operational and strategic experience in the FMCG [fast-moving consumer goods] sector,” added the company.

“He will use his demonstrated skills in organizational turnarounds to achieve the objectives of the restructuring plan and accumulate value for Nampak’s shareholders while ensuring the company’s long-term sustainability.”

The Nampak board said it has initiated a process to appoint a new CEO and supports Roux as interim CEO until such time as a permanent CEO is appointed.

Valued at about R650 million on the JSE, Nampak’s shares have lost more than two-thirds of their value over the past year, and it has been struggling under the weight of a debt pile that stood at a net R5.2 billion at the end of September.

It has also been trying to convince shareholders to back a rights issue that will potentially be more than twice its current market value.

The company has also flagged operational difficulties and tough market conditions, notably in Angola and Nigeria, also recently announced the appointment of a chief restructuring officer, Michael Dorn.

At the end of March, it said its plans to exit from current businesses in Ethiopia, Kenya, and Tanzania, as well as its general metals business in Nigeria, were “progressing well.”

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