JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - Frank Cadiz, founder of Cadiz Group, has resigned after a clash with shareholders and the South African financial services firm is undergoing a major restructuring, sources told Reuters on Thursday.
Cadiz, who was chief executive of its asset management arm, stood down on Jan. 20, company spokesman Charl Schmahl confirmed.
He has been replaced by Brian Wootton, who was appointed at the behest of UK-based investment firm Blackstar Group SE, a major Cadiz shareholder, he said.
“The board in consultation with shareholders believed a change was required,” said William Marshall Smith, director at the asset management arm of Blackstar, whose 12 percent holding in the company makes it the second-biggest shareholder.
Cadiz Asset Management was founded in 1996 and has 34 billion rand ($2.9 billion) in assets under management, according to its website.
“There is major restructuring going on. This involves lay-offs,” one Cadiz source told Reuters, adding that shareholders had been unhappy with the company’s performance.
Company spokesman Schmahl declined to comment on the re-organisation.
Cadiz Asset Management became a well-known name in the South African economic and financial boom that followed the end of apartheid and international isolation in 1994, winning several industry awards.
In November, the company said it was going through a “challenging” few years but that the performance of its asset management division, which accounts for the bulk of its operations, was “not an unexpected trend” in the life cycle of such a business.
At the time it appointed three new non-executive directors, including Wootton, who has 20 years’ experience in executive management positions and mergers and acquisitions.