Christo Wiese jumps in as Steinhoff CEO quits over accounting failures

September 9, 2014. Steinhoff results presentation.Markus Jooste CEO.Pic: RAYMOND PRESTON. © Sunday Times.

JOHANNESBURG – The Chief Executive Office of Steinhoff, Marcus Jooste resigned with immediate effect after the global furniture and clothing retailer reported irregularities in its accounts that require further investigation.

The owner of the France-based Conforama furniture store chain and Pep clothing stores in Africa said in a statement on Tuesday that it has appointed auditor PWC to probe the matter.

Chairperson of the company and South African billionaire, Christo Wiese, will run the company on a temporary basis.

The retailer, which originates from South Africa, has a base in Amsterdam and a primary listing in Frankfurt.

He said on Monday that it wasn’t able to release audited full-year financial results on Wednesday due to matters related to a criminal and tax investigation in Germany.

There had been allegations made in a Manager-Magazine report that Jooste is among employees being in a 2015 case linked to possible accounting fraud.

The shares of Steinhoff have slumped 18% over the past two days. That is the most since the Frankfurt listing in December 2015. They have transformed themselves in the past four years.

According to Bloomberg Billionaires Index, Wiese is South Africa’s fourth richest person with a net worth of $4.3 billion (about R58 billion).

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