Disgraced Steinhoff International Holdings CEO, Markus Jooste, is said to have written a letter to the company’s employees after he was forced to resign following allegations of accounting fraud and mainly inflating revenue. The scandal has caused immeasurable with Steinhoff’s share price collapsing from levels above R40.oo per share to around R12.oo. More than R100 billion in shareholder value has been destroyed.
In the letter to employees, Jooste tries to exonerate the rest of the executive committee made of COO Danie van der Merwe , CFO Ben la Grange, executive Group Treasury and Financing Stehan Grobler and Corporate Services executive Mariza Nel. He claims that claiming that they were not part of the shenanigans he is accused of. This appears like a weak attempt to take the fall and suggest that the rot doesn’t run deep as it seems.
It nevertheless seems disingenuous to suggest that Jooste could be held solely responsible for what sound like an extensive accounting fraud of inflating revenue.
Here follows the letter:
Firstly I would like to apologise for all the bad publicity I caused the Steinhoff company the last couple of months.
Now I have caused the company further damage by not being able to finalise the year-end audited numbers and I made some big mistakes and have now caused financial loss to many innocent people.
It is time for me to move on and take the consequences of my behavior like a man.
Sorry that I have disappointed all of you and I never meant to cause any of you any harm.
Please continue to live the Steinhoff dream and I must make it very clear none of Danie [van der Merwe – COO], Ben [la Grange – CFO], Stehan [Grobler – executive Group Treasury and Financing] and Mariza [Nel] – Corporate Services, IT & HR] had anything to do with any of my mistakes.
I enjoyed working with you and wish you all the best for the future.