Choppies CFO Heinrich Stander resigns after CEO Ram Ottapathu takes over board

Stander and other opposing board members were ousted after the suspended CEO was re-elected as a director.

Botswana-headquartered retailer Choppies has announced the resignation of its group CFO Heinrich Mathiam Stander as of 5 September 2019. 

In a statement, Choppies, which has more stores in South Africa than its home country, said that Stander’s resignation follows the extraordinary general meeting of the shareholders which was held on 4 September, wherein the shareholders rejected to re-elect Stander as a director of the company. 

Since the meeting on Wednesday, suspended Choppies CEO Ram Ottapathu has been wrestling for control of the board. Shareholders voted to oust almost all of the former board members, who had pitted themselves against Ottapathu after a series of investigations into the company’s business practices. Other ousted board members include Wilfred Mpai and Dorcas Kgosietsile. 

Ottapathu’s new board consists of close allies; former Astral Foods financial director Tom Pritchard and investment and finance professional Carol Jean Harward, as well as Choppies founder and executive deputy chair Farouk Ismail.

Choppies’ auditors, PwC, also resigned after the meeting on Wednesday. 

Ottapathu had made some suggestions to the non-executive directors as to changes to the board and structural changes to the company earlier in the year and was suspended shortly after. 

Ottapathu is due to face disciplinary proceedings at the end of September following a legal report by the Desai Law Group and a forensic investigation by EY into Choppie’s affairs.