Bidvest’s Comair coup ejects SA’s best entrepreneurial export

Last week I shared how Greenside High and Wits University old boy Rodney Sacks is recognised in the heart of capitalism as one of their best entrepreneurs. And suggested that it was time the billionaire who runs the best performing stock of the century, Monster Energy, is long overdue recognition in his homeland. Seems Bidvest thinks differently.

Sacks had been quietly contributing as a non-executive director to JSE-listed Comair’s extraordinary record of the only known airline worldwide to have delivered 68 consecutive years of operating profits. But at the end of last year, he left the Comair board as part of what appears to have been a coup by the company’s biggest shareholder Bidvest.

Apart from the California-based billionaire, also departed from the Comair boardroom are long serving chairman Piet van Hoven and his deputy Martin Moritz, who left in the past fortnight. They followed Dr Piet Welgemoed who resigned with immediate effect on 3 December. Two other boardroom incumbents are also leaving soon; company secretary Derek Borer departs on Feb 15 and emigrating FD Kisten King, at the end of next month.

So far there’s been little relevant communication from the company, with each departing director praised for their contribution. But there is a whispering campaign that Van Hoven, Sacks and Co had served for too long. By that logic Berkshire Hathaway shareholders are overdue demanding Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger’s heads. That’s disingenuous. But rest assured, we’ll hear the real story soon enough. Because the truth has a way of escaping even the tightest constrictions.

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