South Africa’s Daybreak Farms names new CEO, CFO amid contested leadership position

SOUTH AFRICA – South African state-owned chicken producer, Daybreak Farms, has named former Albany Bakeries Managing Director Matshela Seshibe as its new CEO for a five-year term.

Seshibe, who has worked at Unilever, Tiger Brands and Coca-Cola, takes over from Jack Nkogatse, who had been serving as acting CEO.

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He holds a Bachelor of Commerce in Business Economics, Finance & Information Systems from University of the Witwatersrand and Master of Business Leadership (MBL) in Leadership, Finance & Business Strategy from University of South Africa.

“We believe his strong leadership experience will help focus Daybreak Farms during its turnaround process and continue the Board’s work of returning the entity to operational stability,” said the Group’s Chair, Lerato Nage.

However, according to reports by Fin24, Seshibe’s appointment comes as Daybreak is still seeking to overturn an arbitration ruling ordering it to reinstate its axed CEO Boas Seruwe and pay him over R2 million.

Seruwe was suspended as Daybreak’s CEO in January 2021 pending an investigation into allegations of wrongdoing, which he denied. He was dismissed in May last year ahead of a planned disciplinary hearing.

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He then approached the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA), which found in his favour in November and ordered that he be reinstated.

The arbitration body ruled that Daybreak could not offer any valid legal reasons to dismiss Seruwe.

But before Seruwe returned to work, Daybreak’s board lodged an urgent application with the Labour Court to stay the arbitration award, pending the outcome of a review application.

In December, the Johannesburg Labour Court agreed to stay the arbitration award. The ruling was based, in part, on Daybreak’s argument that the CCMA had ignored clauses in Seruwe’s employment contract. No date has yet been set for the review hearing.

If Daybreak is unsuccessful in overturning the arbitration ruling, however, Seruwe will again be named as the group’s CEO, putting him on a potential collision course with Seshibe.

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To further stabilise operations, the poultry producer has promoted Vangile Masisi from serving as the company’s Chartered Accountant to Chief Financial Officer (CFO).

Prior to joining Daybreak, Masisi served in the finance department of Tiger Brands.

Daybreak employs about 3 000 workers and slaughters over a million birds a week. It is owned by state-run asset manager the Public Investment Corporation (PIC), which spent R1.175 billion (US$75m) to buy out the poultry producer – then known as AFGRI Poultry – in May 2015.

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