• Sanlam's chairperson and former CEO Johan van Zyl cashed out R35 million worth of shares on Friday and Monday, a filing by the company on Tuesday showed.
  • Van Zyl sold 450,000 shares for an average of R77.94 each.
  • The sale was part of a "balancing of portfolio", Sanlam said.
  • Van Zyl is due to step down as chairperson before mid 2020, after something of a fight about his multiple roles.
  • For more stories go to www.BusinessInsider.co.za.

Sanlam's chairperson and former CEO for 13 years sold R35 million worth of shares in the company in transactions on Friday and Monday, a disclosure filing by Sanlam on Tuesday showed.

Van Zyl is due to step down as chair by mid-2020.

Sanlam’s filing shows that Van Zyl sold 300,000 shares on Friday for just under R23.4 million, and another 150,000 shares on Monday for R11.7 million.

His shares sold for as low as R77.07 and as much as R79.77, though the transactions averaged out at R77.94 per share.

That is about 7.5% below Sanlam's share price high so far this year, which hit R84.28 a share in mid-January.

Sanlam described the transactions as "balancing of portfolio" in its statement to shareholders. 

In interim results released earlier this month, Sanlam said that “slower than expected” progress in solving SA’s challenges has “severely limited” its new business growth prospects.

Van Zyl is the co-CEO of African Rainbow Capital (ARC), which has a large voting stake in Sanlam after a number of deals between the groups. ARC is also an investor in Alexander Forbes, and that led to complaints that though he is a non-executive in Sanlam, Van Zyl is too conflicted to look after the interests of all shareholders.

In March, Van Zyl told Business Day that his decision to step down as chairperson in 2020 had nothing to do with such complaints.

Sanlam has promised to find a suitable non-executive chairperson to replace him.

Van Zyl was the CEO of Sanlam between 2002 and 2015, and was appointed as chairperson after magnate Patrice Motsepe turned down the job.

Sanlam was not immediately available to comment on the sale.

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