Steve Phiri stays on at RBPlat to steer company through heated battle for its control

Steve Phiri CEO of Royal Bafokeng Platinum

ROYAL Bafokeng Platinum’s (RBPlat’s) long-serving CEO Steve Phiri has extended his stay at the company whilst it sees through a heated battle for its control.

Impala Platinum (Implats) launched a takeover bid for RBPlat earlier this year but it is contending with the as yet unknown plans of rival Northam Platinum which bought a stake of just under 35% in RBPlat.

Phiri indicated earlier this month that it was likely he’d stay on in an effort to steer the company through the uncertainty – the terms of which were disclosed on Tuesday.

RBPlat said Phiri had agreed to a one year contract which also requires him to ensure “… that the business strategy, structures and operational frameworks remain relevant in order to ensure a sustainable business post the corporate action”.

He was to have retired from the company this year after serving since formation, about 11 years ago. Neil Carr, RBPlat’s COO has also agreed to a one year contract extension.

“I can linger,” said Phiri in March when asked about extending his employment at RBPlat. “The board has asked me to stay until the firm achieves certainty. I am also in discussions with Neil to see if he will stay,” Phiri said at the time.

The contract extensions for Phiri and Carr are effective April 7.

Phiri has been critical of former RBPlat shareholder Royal Bafokeng Holdings (RBN) which agreed to sell its 32% stake in RBPlat to Northam. He commented at RBPlat’s full year results presentation that RBN had “abandoned shareholders”.

He added that: “You do not give that heritage up even for the most tempting price”. This was a reference to RBN mandate to represent the economic interests of the Royal Bafokeng Nation which has historic links with platinum-bearing properties in South Africa’s North West province.