Steinhoff chairman Christo Wiese quits as scandal develops

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CFO

The embattled retail group Steinhoff has been dealt another major blow, with chairman and interim chief executive Christo Wiese stepping down with immediate effect.

Following the shock departure of chief executive Markus Joost earlier this month over supposed “accounting irregularities”, yesterday it was announced that his immediate successor and major shareholder Weise had also resigned.

The South African retailer’s board stated this was to ensure the “independent governance of the company”.

This follows concerns from Steinhoff’s second-largest shareholder, South Africa’s Public Investment Corporation, that Wiese’s appointment may represent a conflict of interest.

Weise will be replaced by a member of the supervisory board and its independent sub-committee Heather Sonn as acting chair, while Wiese’s son Jacob has reportedly also quit “given the family relationship”.

Roughly £9 billion has been wiped off Steinhoff’s value since the scandal broke.

Weise, who owns a 22 per cent stake in the group, has also endured losses estimated to total ZAR30 billion (£1.66 billion)

Yesterday the company’s shares took another significant hit after a mild recovery after revelations that its 2016 accounts had to be restated as they could “no longer be relied on”.

Steinhoff’s global retail empire includes UK brands Poundland, Harvey’s and Benson for Beds.

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