Ackerman family gives up control of Pick n Pay

Ackerman Investment Holdings (AIH), run by the Ackerman family, have agreed to forego their majority shareholder voting control of Pick n Pay, and Gareth Ackerman will step down as chairperson. 

Pick n Pay released its results today, which revealed poor results from the company, which swung to a loss for the 52 weeks ended 25 February 2024.

The retailer confirmed today that AIH, the controlling shareholder of Pick n Pay, had provided a firm written confirmation to vote in favour of and follow their pro rata rights under the anticipated Pick n Pay rights offer.

AIH and its related and inter-related persons, which includes the Ackerman family, agreed to forego majority shareholder voting control of Pick n Pay.

The exact mechanism must still be finalised, such that their voting rights will fall slightly below 50% after the planned rights offer.

AIH will also relinquish the right to nominate the Chairman, CEO and CFO immediately. 

The Ackerman family’s representation on Pick n Pay’s board will be reduced to three members from the FY24 AGM – Gareth Ackerman, Suzanne Ackerman, and Jonathan Ackerman.

David Robins, who has served for 30 years, including 22 years on the Board, will retire from the board at the FY24 AGM.

After 40 years of service, including 14 years as chairman, Gareth Ackerman will retire from his role after the release of FY25 results.

He has also stepped down from the Nominations and Treasury Committees with immediate effect. The board is in the process of identifying his successor as Non-Executive Chairman, who will be announced in due course.

Suzanne Ackerman will remain as chairperson of the Social, Ethics and Transformation Committee and will retire from the Nominations Committee with immediate effect.

The board has initiated a process for long-serving non-executive directors to rotate and retire in the ordinary course of board appointments over the next 12 to 18 months.

Gareth Ackerman said, “This is a strong vote of confidence by the Ackerman Family in the future of Pick n Pay.” 

“The changes in the control structure being announced today are intended to support the business in its transformation under the leadership of CEO Sean Summers and his management team.”

He said the Ackerman family has for some time been considering the changing operating environment and the need for renewal at Pick n Pay, including at the board level. 

“To quote a favourite expression of my father, ‘We need to listen to the whispers of tomorrow’. The difficulty the business has found itself in recently has proved an opportune moment to accelerate the renewal process.”

He explained that, on a personal level, he has been wanting to retire as board chair for some time. 

“I will stay on as chairman to support the management through this period of transition until the publication of our FY25 results, after which I feel it will be the right time to hand over to new blood while I continue to serve on the board,” he said.

“This is a challenging but, at the same time, very exciting time in our history. This is the right decision by the family and by me. We have full confidence in Sean Summers and give him our every support.”