Steinhoff Chairperson Heather Sonn has resigned

Heather Sonn, the chairperson of Steinhoff, has resigned from all her functions at the the multinational retailer. 

In a statement on Monday morning, Sonn said a company in which she is a shareholder, Gamiro Ventures, had “unwittingly” completed a transaction with Geros Financial Services that “now appears may have been associated with and (indirectly) funded by the company (Steinhoff)”.

“In December 2017 I requested that this transaction be placed on the list for investigation by PwC when a name in the shareholding structure of the shareholder of Geros was recognised as a name that also appeared in the Viceroy Report.

“Unfortunately, it has taken over 2 years to get to a conclusion as to the nature of the relationship between the company and Geros, but there were multiple priorities for the company at the time,” she said. 

Sonn said that “based on what is now known to me” the transaction “would have required certain disclosures which I would have made had I been aware thereof”.

Peter Wakkie, the vice chairperson of Steinhoff’s Supervisory Board, said in a statement that Sonn had “in no way been found to have participated in the accounting irregularities at Steinhoff”.

Sonn was appointed the scandal plagued retailer’s acting chairperson in mid-December 2017, following the resignation of billionaire Christo Wiese. Her position was made permanent the following year. 

A member of the retailer’s board at the time, Sonn took up the role barely a week after Steinhoff’s CEO Markus Jooste abruptly resigned at the start of a wide-ranging accounting scandal that has caused the company’s share price to plunge by over 95{e93887a69cdd95d753f466db084bbc3aa0067124675315461d28d68a72842cc2}. 

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