Thys Loubser, CEO of crisis-hit South African wine and spirits giant KWV, has resigned his position with immediate effect.
Thys Loubser (pictured) took over the post in 2007. He has not commented on his departure, which comes months after investment company HCI became KWV’s largest shareholder.
André van der Veen, a KWV board member and senior HCI executive, has taken over the running of the company on an acting basis while a long-term replacement is sought.
KWV’s board said that ‘at this stage of the company’s internal restructuring it was opportune to effect a change in the leadership’ but declined to comment further.
Loubser’s departure comes at a difficult time for the company, which has lost many of its UK listings after enforcing price rises.
Global sales fell from 2.5m cases to 500,000 cases in the last six months of 2010.
Group profits slumped 80% to ZAR5.8m, while the core wine and spirits business made a loss of ZAR7.2m.
HCI acquired a 31.8% stake in KWV in February.
KWV, which owns brands including Roodeberg and Cathedral Cellar, has been trying to develop sales in emerging markets including Asia, while also building its business in the domestic South African market.
Written by Richard Woodard