Ivan Saltzman, the CEO and founder of South African pharmaceutical retailer Dis_Chem [JSE: DCP], will step down from his position at the end of June after over four decades leading the company. Saltzman will remain on the board as an executive director and an active member of the executive management team.
Rui Morais, the current CFO who was announced as Saltzman’s successor in August 2021, will take over as CEO from July 1. Julia Pope, the executive head of finance, will assume the role of CFO. Dis-Chem’s shares rose nearly 2% following the announcement. Saltzman expressed confidence in the future leadership and stated his intention to focus on store visits and expanding the company’s store footprint.
As part of the transition, Saltzman has committed to selling 32.25 million Dis-Chem shares owned by the Saltzman family to Morais and a group of key senior executives. Dis-Chem’s chair, Larry Nestadt, praised Saltzman’s leadership and his role in transforming the company from a family business to a leading publicly listed corporation.
Saltzman’s tenure was not without challenges though, as he faced controversy in October 2022 when he called for a moratorium on hiring white employees. The company experienced repercussions from this incident, estimating that 5% to 8% of its white, coloured, and Asian chronic medicine clients left the group.
However, Dis-Chem’s recent trading update for the 12 months ending February 2023 showed positive results, with a 9% increase in revenue (excluding Covid-19 vaccines and testing). Earnings per share and headline earnings per share are expected to rise between 16.5% and 19%.
Additionally, Dis-Chem is also in the final stages of potentially acquiring a [php light=”true”]63,000m2[/php] distribution center in Gauteng, which would increase its warehouse capacity by 75% to accommodate the company’s rapid growth.