SABMiller breaks rules with internal shake-up
The promotion of Graham Mackay from chief executive to chairman at SABMiller contravenes the UK Corporate Governance Code.
Mackay (pictured) will replace the current chairman Meyer Kahn, who has been at the helm of the brewing giant since it floated in 1999.
Mackay will in turn be replaced by fellow South African Alan Clark, currently director of Europe, who will spend a year as chief operating officer before taking over as chief executive in July 2013.
Mackay will assume the role of non-executive chairman at that time as well.
SABMiller admitted that the move was against the code but insisted that it was done in the best interests of shareholders.
Indeed, two of the company’s biggest investors – US firm Altira and the Santo Domingo family, which represent a combined 41% of shares – have approved the move.
The company said: “The nomination committee came to the unanimous conclusion Graham Mackay was the outstanding candidate.”
The move has raised eyebrows as the UK corporate code prohibits the CEO and the chairman being one and the same man as Mackay will in effect be until Clark completes his year as COO in preparation.
The code was introduced in the 1990s, following the Polly Peck scandal, where the company went bust after falsifying its financial reports for years.