Drama at Huge Group

James Herbst

Three Huge Group directors – Duarte da Silva, Craig Lyons, and Brian Armstrong – have resigned with immediate effect.

The company announced the board shake-up in a SENS statement after the market closed on Friday.

The boardroom battle involved two camps:

  • A body of shareholders, holding more than 50% of the company’s voting rights, the CEO, and certain non-executive directors, as a group of stakeholders on the one hand.
  • The three non-executive directors who resigned as a group of stakeholders, on the other hand.

Huge Group CEO James Herbst told Daily Investor these two groups didn’t share the same views.

Herbst explained that they had a board meeting, which lasted just short of three hours, where views were shared in a cordial and constructive manner.

“At no time did we have any idea that all three gentlemen would collectively tender their resignations right at the very end of the meeting,” he said.

“The resignations came as a complete surprise and shock to other directors and me.”

He added that it is a pity that the three directors who resigned felt they didn’t have the resolve to stay and fight for their views.

“Be that as it may, all three gentlemen made a significant contribution to the company for which the company is very grateful.”

“Their sudden collective departure is a loss that the company will have to bear – the loss is the institutional knowledge that they possessed.”

Herbst said he believes the three directors, who are all captains in business, still had a significant contribution to make.

“Personally, Duarte is my friend. We walked a wonderful road together and had so much fun. I will miss his involvement,” he said.

Da Silva, Lyons, and Armstrong were replaced by Veran Kathan as chairman, Michael Beamish as a non-executive director, and Zak van de Merwe as executive director.

Van de Merwe, who previously served as CEO and executive director of Virgin Mobile South Africa, was also appointed as the chief commercial officer.