May 6, 2019 / 7:34 AM / a year ago

UPDATE 1-South Africa's Massmart CEO to step down

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JOHANNESBURG, May 6 (Reuters) - Massmart Chief Executive Guy Hayward will step down before the end of 2019 after being at the helm for five years, the South African retailer said on Monday.

Massmart, which is majority-owned by Walmart Inc, gave no reason for the 52-year old's departure.

The news comes after the group, one of South Africa's biggest retailers, reported a sharp fall in full-year earnings in February and unveiled plans to add 47 new stores between 2019 and 2021 with about a third of them outside its home market.

"The process to appoint Guy's successor is underway and the board will make further announcements in due course," it said in a statement.

The exact timing of Hayward's exit is still to be confirmed.

At market open, shares in Massmart were down 0.80 percent at 93.50 rand, compared with a 1.99 percent decline in the Johannesburg All-Share index.

Hayward joined Massmart as group financial executive in 2000 and became CEO in June 2014.

"(Hayward) has been a valued contributor to many of the company's defining milestones including: our listing on the JSE in 2000, the closure of the Walmart transaction in 2010/11 and the multiple corporate acquisitions to grow and diversify the group," Chairman Kuseni Dlamini said.

Reporting by Nqobile Dludla Editing by Tiisetso Motsoeneng and Emelia Sithole-Matarise

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