Markus Jooste, CEO of Steinhoff International, Europe’s second-largest furniture retailer by sales, has resigned on the 6th of December, with immediate effect, after the company had launched an investigation into accounting irregularities.
Further on, The Supervisory Board of the German company, in consultation with the statutory auditors of Steinhoff, has approached PWC to perform an independent investigation.
The Supervisory Board has immediately appointed its Chairman, Dr. Christo Wiese, as Executive Chairman (Delegated Supervisory Chairman) on an interim basis. In addition, Pieter Erasmus, the previous CEO of Pepkor Group, has agreed to join Dr. Wiese in an executive advisory capacity to assist with managing the group’s various retail interests around the world.
Last month, the South Africa-headquartered company did not tell investors about almost $1 billion in transactions with a related company despite laws that some experts believe require it to do so. Moreover, Steinhoff has been under investigation for accounting irregularities by the state prosecutor in Oldenburg, Germany since 2015.
The company has also postponed the deadline for publishing its audited 2017 consolidated financial statements for January 31st 2018, saying it would only do so “when it is in a position to do so”. Also, the report will determine whether any prior years’ financial statements will need to be restated.
Jooste has been the chief executive officer of Steinhoff since 1998, having joined the group in 1988, and is one of South Africa’s highest profile executives.