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4Sight rebrands, hopes to cleanse battered image

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4Sight acting CEO Tertius Zitzke.
4Sight acting CEO Tertius Zitzke.

Embattled technology group 4Sight Holdings has embarked on an urgent damage control exercise to heal its bruised brand.

The company has, in recent weeks, suffered unabated boardroom squabbles that damaged its brand.

Twisting the knife in the wound, the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) last week suspended the company from the local bourse for non-compliance.

In a telephonic interview with ITWeb this morning, acting CEO Tertius Zitzke said the company is remodelling to reflect its core values and vision.

“That [branding] is the biggest thing we need to tackle besides the JSE suspension and getting one of our companies [Foursight Holdings] out of business rescue. We are changing the logo from green to blue; blue represents the clouds and we are a cloud company,” says Zitzke.

Last month, the company announced its Foursight Holdings unit had applied for business rescue, saying the subsidiary “is heavily dependent on the cash flows in the form of dividends and management fees from its profitable subsidiary companies”.

Walking the talk

Zitzke adds: “We have an active public relations plan that we are rolling out. We are also going on a roadshow to talk to our employees as they are the biggest asset and we want to get the messaging right.”

He points out that for the first time the company has an independent board.

Zitzke says 4Sight has appointed a new board and individuals of the highest calibre that “have seen beyond the boardroom politics to the true potential of the company, and with their guidance I am confident in the company’s future growth”.

To bolster its board, 4Sight appointed Zitzke (acting CEO) and Eric van der Merwe (acting chief financial officer). It also announced Marichen Mortimer, Johan Nel, Christopher Crowe, Andrew Murgatroyd and Herman Singh had joined the board.

“We want to take the company forward and build it the way we envisaged it when we first invested in the company. We appointed an independent board; the previous one was not independent. As a result, we have non-executive directors,” he explains.

4Sight finally held its aborted special general meeting yesterday and the company says it was a success.

According to Zitzke, “the special general meeting had been called by the shareholders with the aim of voting in a new, fit-for-purpose board with the requisite skills to develop a long-term strategy capitalising on the group’s excellent potential in the area of the fourth industrial revolution, and its strong cash position”.

He explains: “The new board includes five independent non-executives with impeccable credentials and the right mix of skills and experience needed to help 4Sight overcome its current challenges and realise its immense potential.

“Good governance is the foundation of a successful company, and the new board has been chosen with these principles at the core of its operations.

“The newly appointed exco has already begun the process of developing a comprehensive, group-wide strategy for 4Sight, which will be presented to the new board as soon as possible.”

4Sight is still to appoint two Mauritian residents to the board as the company is registered in that jurisdiction, and this process is under way, it says.

Zitzke says management’s priority is to get 4Sight back on the JSE.

He notes an important step in stabilising the company will be the publication of the interim financial results. Non-publication of these results by the previous board within the timeframes stipulated by the JSE resulted in 4Sight being suspended from the exchange.

“The suspension came to me as a surprise when I became the acting CEO. It was mainly because of the publication of the financial results. We have since appointed external auditors and we are seeing them on Friday. The financial results will be published by the end of the month.”

Boiling point

4Sight has been under pressure since August.

At the time, a major shareholder demanded a board shake-up. This was then followed by a series of resignations of directors. By the time the company was suspended last week, six directors had jumped ship.

The first to go was the chairman of the audit and risk committee who left in a huff.

Geoffrey Carter tendered his resignation with immediate effect after “false accusations” were circulated in e-mails by executives, making the situation untenable, the company said in a statement to shareholders.

The chairman followed less than 24 hours later: Dr Rama Sithanen, who was initially scheduled to leave by the end of the year.

The CEO of technology group 4Sight Holdings Vincent Raseroka and three other directors then quit the company after weeks of bruising boardroom drama.

In a note to shareholders, 4Sight said Raseroka, Gary Lauryssen, Jason du Plessis and Tinus Neethling had left the board.

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