Shirley Zinn suddenly resigns as lead independent director of Shoprite

Some analysts believe her resignation is tied to Christo Wiese's continued tenure on the board.

Less than 16 months after her appointment, Shoprite lead independent director Shirley Zinn has resigned from the board. In a Business Insider opinion piece, renown financial journalist Bruce Whitfield speculated that Shirley’s unexpected decision was tied to chairperson Christo Wiese’s refusal to step down as the director of the company despite more than 61 percent of Shoprite’s ordinary shareholders voting against it the recent annual general meeting. 

The 78-year-old managed to retain his seat on the board due to his control of 42 percent of the voting rights, coupled with support from 28 percent of ordinary shareholders.

Last week, Shoprite issued a statement announcing that Shirley had tabled her resignation from the board and all relevant board committees with immediate effect and that the process to appoint her replacement had begun.

"The Board wishes to express its sincere gratitude to Prof Zinn for her contribution to the Board of Shoprite Holdings,” read the statement.

"The board has commenced a process to appoint a new lead independent non-executive director and to fill the Board Committee vacancies and will advise shareholders thereof in due course."

Shirley was appointed to the Shoprite board in August last year to replace Edward Kieswetter when he was appointed as commissioner of the SA Revenue Service (SARS). She serves on numerous boards, including MTN Group and Spur Corporation, and was previously a top HR executive at Woolworths, Standard Bank, Nedbank and SARS.