Shanduka Group CEO to step down ahead of merger
Shanduka Group CEO Phuti Mahanyele says that she is leaving the group to go into a “d i f f e r ent v ent ur e ”, not disclosing the exact details of what this next venture is. She is not going into a corporate structure, but will be forming a new entity, which she will only reveal when she leaves in June. Mahanyele has also been appointed chairman of Indian ICT company NBS Infosys.
Alt hough s he doesn’t sa y it , Mahanyele may have left anyway given the imminent merger of Shanduka with Pembani, a move which effectively pools the assets of Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa with those of former MTN CEO Phuthuma Nhleko.
It is likely she will be replaced as CEO by former Barclays Africa executive Kennedy Bungane, who was appointed as Pembani CEO in August last year.
The Pembani/Shanduka merger is not f inalised. Shanduka claims a net asset value (NAV) of R8.1bn in March 2014, prior to the announcement of the merger. The merged group has indicated it has assets of R11bn (down from the original assessment of over R13bn), indicating that Pembani is the junior player in this merger. Both groups are completely opaque. Shanduka lists its major assets, which include Coca-Cola South Africa, McDonald’s, Incwala Resources, Shanduka Coal, Scaw, Macsteel, MTN, Standard Bank, Liberty and Alexander Forbes, but does not provide financials.
It says that NAV was R4.7bn in 2009, R5.9bn in 2010 and R8.1bn in March 2014, prior to the announcement of the merger. Pembani has investments in Engen, Billiton Energy Coal SA, Exxaro and Afrisam. It does not even have a website.
Mahanyele says that the appointment of the next CEO may depend on the outcome of the merger process, but insists her departure has nothing to do with it. “Phuthuma [Nhleko] had spoken to me about staying, but I have always wanted to go form my new venture. I could have left earlier, but wanted to make sure I see that transaction through,” she says.
Mahanyele says the merger is going very well, and they will make submissions to the Competition Commission in the f irst week of March. A new building under construction on Grayston Drive in Sandton will house the combined staff.
When she joined in 2004, Shanduka was a small organisation. Since then, Mahanyele says, one of the biggest shifts has been the move from passive to operational investor. Among her highlights were Chinese Investment Corporation’s acquisition of 25% of Shanduka and the acquisition of McDonald’s, which represented a shift from resources into a sector which is consumer-focused.
She also appreciated the fact that she was part of an organisation making a difference in society through the Shanduka Foundation. There have been some lows, too: for example, Marikana where Ramaphosa was controversially involved through Shanduka’s investment in Lonmin. “Marikana has by the far been the greatest sadness for all of us. Whether it was in a company Shanduka invested in or not, it was a great moment for all of us as South Africans,” she says, further praising Lonmin management for being able to start to move forward.