4Sight puts board bat­tle be­hind it

Business Day - - FRONT PAGE - Karl Ger­net­zky Mar­kets Writer ger­net­[email protected]­nesslive.co.za

Tech­nol­ogy group 4Sight’s new CEO, Ter­tius Zitzke, says he wants the group to fo­cus on of­fer­ing high­qual­ity tech­no­log­i­cal so­lu­tions to cus­tomers so that it can re­cover from the harm caused by a highly pub­lic dis­pute over its board’s com­po­si­tion.

Tech­nol­ogy group 4Sight’s new CEO, Ter­tius Zitzke, says he wants the group to fo­cus on of­fer­ing high-qual­ity tech­no­log­i­cal so­lu­tions to cus­tomers so it can re­cover from the harm caused by a highly pub­lic dis­pute over its board’s com­po­si­tion.

4Sight, the share price of which al­most halved in 2019, had a dra­matic board shake-up in Oc­to­ber with four di­rec­tors quit­ting and seven new ones ap­pointed.

Zitzke said on Thurs­day that the fight was about the di­rec­tion of 4Sight, which had been act­ing more as an in­vest­ment hold­ing com­pany in­stead of a tech­no­log­i­cal firm that was ben­e­fit­ing from syn­er­gies from its var­i­ous sub­sidiaries.

The pub­lic fight and sus­pen­sion of 4Sight from the JSE on Fri­day for late re­sults had led to rep­u­ta­tion dam­age, Zitzke said. The com­pany was work­ing on a new strate­gic plan to re­alise the ben­e­fits of mul­ti­ple sub­sidiaries work­ing to­gether, as well as pri­ori­tis­ing the re­lease of its late re­sults, which are now ex­pected to be de­liv­ered by the end of Novem­ber.

The com­pany had re­ceived a qual­i­fied au­dit in its year to endDe­cem­ber, due to the au­di­tors be­ing un­able to ver­ify some fi­nan­cial state­ments about re­cently ac­quired sub­sidiaries.

Zitzke said that this qual­i­fied au­dit re­mained an is­sue, but it was be­ing ad­dressed ur­gently. “Our big­gest thing is cus­tomers’ sen­ti­ment, which we need to fix.

“We need to fix the gov­er­nance of the busi­ness and de­liver on the tech­nol­ogy,” he said.

In Oc­to­ber Zitzke, CEO of 4Sight’s pro­fes­sional ser­vices sub­sidiary Ac­cTech Sys­tems, was ap­pointed act­ing CEO of the group af­ter the res­ig­na­tion of Vince Raseroka.

Three other di­rec­tors re­signed as well and seven new di­rec­tors were ap­pointed.

The com­pany, the sub­sidiaries of which in­clude BluESP, said in Au­gust that it had re­ceived a de­mand for a spe­cial share­holder meet­ing from an investor that owns at least 5% of its shares. The aim of the meet­ing was to re­con­sti­tute the board of di­rec­tors.

Ear­lier in Oc­to­ber, board chair Rama Sitha­nen quit af­ter au­dit and risk com­mit­tee chair Ge­of­frey Carter re­signed a day ear­lier. Carter had said that his po­si­tion had be­come un­ten­able due to the bat­tle over the board. He said his po­si­tion was be­ing “com­pro­mised to a point of no re­turn, where se­ri­ous is­sues of fi­nan­cial ir­reg­u­lar­i­ties have oc­curred, yet no con­se­quences ex­cept an all-out bat­tle of egos and clash of char­ac­ters”.

Sitha­nen had brought for­ward his res­ig­na­tion due to the board bat­tle, hav­ing pre­vi­ously in­di­cated he wanted to re-enter pol­i­tics in Mau­ri­tius.

4Sight said on Thurs­day that its new board in­cluded five in­de­pen­dent nonex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tors, with “im­pec­ca­ble cre­den­tials and the right mix of skills and ex­pe­ri­ence”.

Eric van der Merwe, Marichen Mortimer, Jo­han Nel, Christo­pher Crowe, An­drew Mur­ga­troyd and Her­man Singh have been ap­pointed to the board.

Two other di­rec­tors from Mau­ri­tius, where the group is in­cor­po­rated, are still to be ap­pointed.

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