Northam chairman, Vodacom director David Brown passes away

David Brown. (Image: Vodacom)

David Brown, the chairman of Northam Platinum Holdings Ltd. and lead independent director of Vodacom Group Ltd., has died. He was 59.

“It is with great sadness that Vodacom advises shareholders of the untimely passing of David Brown,” the telecommunications company said in a statement on Monday. Brown died from a heart attack, said three people familiar with the situation, asking not to be identified as the details aren’t public.

Brown was also the former chief executive officer of Impala Platinum Holdings Ltd. and Zimbabwe’s Kuvimba Mining House Ltd.

His death comes as Northam Platinum is locked in a battle with rival Impala Platinum to take over Royal Bafokeng Platinum Ltd. CEOs for both Northam and Impala Platinum have said they want to wholly own the smaller platinum group metals producer, which has assets that are mechanized and could be mined at lower costs.

The mining veteran served as chief financial officer and later CEO at Impala from 1999 until 2012, overseeing assets in both South Africa and Zimbabwe. He has also led MC Mining Ltd., a coal producer.

He quit as CEO at Zimbabwe’s Kuvimba Mining last year but stayed on as a director at its Bindura Nickel Corp unit.

Khumo Shuenyane will take over the role of lead director at Vodacom, the company said. Temba Mvusi, who was Northam’s lead director, will become chairman of the company, Northam said. Hester Hickey has been appointed as lead director.

(By Felix Njini and Loni Prinsloo)

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