South African insurance company Old Mutual has been granted leave to appeal a judgement that paved the way for sacked chief executive Peter Moyo to return to work.
The saga kicked off in May when Moyo was suspended following what the board described as a breakdown of trust and confidence in him.
He was fired a month later.
A court ruled on 30 July that Moyo’s dismissal was unlawful and that he was entitled to return to work on an interim basis.
Despite this, Old Mutual sacked Moyo for a second time on 21 August.
On 6 September, the Gauteng local division of the High Court granted permission for Old Mutual to appeal that ruling.
But it refused the insurer’s application to suspend the court order pending that appeal.
No resolution in sight
In a statement on Friday, Old Mutual said: “In the further application heard today, Mr Moyo has sought permission to introduce further evidence relating to his claim Old Mutual had acted in contempt of court.
“In his further application, Mr Moyo argued that the further notice of termination of employment, given to Mr Moyo on 21 August 2019, constituted a further act in contempt of court, and that this is relevant to his earlier contentions in this regard.”
It continued: “Argument on this new interlocutory matter is likely to continue into the early evening, and it appears likely that judgement in this matter may be reserved as well.
“Mr Moyo has not challenged the contractual validity of the further notice of termination given on 21 August 2019.
“He will not be returning to work in the interim.”
On Monday 9 September, the firm confirmed it had met with Moyo and his legal team that morning to “explain that Mr Moyo will not be returning to work because the further notice of termination given on 21 August stands and Old Mutual’s contractual rights remain intact”.
Not backing down
The standoff between Moyo and his former/current employer has soured considerably, with Old Mutual confirming in its interim results that it is looking to sell its stake in a business he co-founded.
The Old Mutual South Africa business split from the group following the managed separation that was first announced in March 2016.
The move saw Nedbank and Old Mutual in South Africa spun out, while the UK wealth management business rebranded as Quilter and the single-strategy arm of Old Mutual Global Investors was sold and named Merian.
The legal fight between Moyo and Old Mutual has no connection to Quilter or Old Mutual International, which has yet to adopt the group’s branding.