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Steinhoff Chairman Christo Wiese resigns

South African retailer Steinhoff International Holdings NV said Dec. 14 that Christo Wiese, chairman of the supervisory board and delegated supervisory chairman, resigned from the company's supervisory board.

The furniture, household goods and general merchandise retailer said Dec. 6 that it appointed an independent auditor to probe accounting irregularities at the company. Earlier on Dec. 14, the owner of the Mattress Firm chain said that it needs to restate its 2016 financial statements.

Steinhoff said Heather Sonn, a member of the supervisory board and its independent subcommittee, will become acting chairperson of the company. Sonn will remain a member of the independent subcommittee, along with Johan van Zyl and Steve Booysen.

Wiese, who is a "major shareholder," decided to resign to reinforce the independent governance of the company, Steinhoff said.

"The Supervisory Board, on the advice of the independent committee of the Supervisory Board, has accepted his resignation to address any possible conflict of interest that may exist," Steinhoff said, adding that Wiese has offered to provide any ongoing assistance the company requires.

Steinhoff said Jacob Wiese has also resigned from the company's board, given his family relationship to Christo Wiese.

The retailer said shareholders and other investors in the company should "exercise caution when dealing" with the group's securities.