South Africa’s Independent Regulatory Board for Auditors (IRBA) CEO Jenitha John has resigned and a caretaker board has been appointed by South African minister of finance Tito Mboweni.

John resigned due to the persisting negative perception of her connection to agricultural business Tongaat Hulett despite her fully disclosing her role as non-executive directorship before being selected to lead IRBA.

Tongaat Hulett was at the centre of an accounting scandal in 2019 when it declared that its financial result for 2018 were not reliable.

John stated that it would be in the best interest of IRBA to step down, however she has made herself available to the caretaker board over the next three months should they require her assistance.

The caretaker board consists of Nonkululeko Gobodo and Roy Andersen. In a joint statement they said: “In moving forward, we have appointed an Acting CEO, Imre Nagy, who has agreed to take up the duties and responsibilities of CEO during the interim period until such time as the board is duly appointed by the Minister in terms of the Act and can proceed with the recruitment of a CEO.

“We thank Jenitha for her service and commitment to the IRBA and wish her well in her future endeavours.

“It is important to the country that the public and investors have faith in the IRBA’s capability to adequately hold errant auditors to account. We remain committed to steer the IRBA carefully through the transition to a new board and new CEO.  We are confident that this will allow the IRBA to move forward positively and focus on rebuilding its reputation as one of the world’s foremost audit regulators.”

The Acting CEO’s appointment is effective immediately. Nagy is currently the Director: Inspections and a board member of the International Forum of Independent Audit Regulators and has been with the IRBA for eight years.