Markus Jooste the former Steinhoff CEO has died after reportedly shooting himself

Former chief executive of Steinhoff, Markus Jooste, has died. File picture Armand Hough / Independent Newspapers Archives

Former chief executive of Steinhoff, Markus Jooste, has died. File picture Armand Hough / Independent Newspapers Archives

Published Mar 21, 2024


Former Steinhoff Chief Executive Officer, Markus Jooste, has died.

While details around Jooste's death remain the subject of a police investigation, it has been reported that Jooste shot himself on Thursday.

Jooste's death comes following a penalty of R475 million imposed by the Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA) after it found that he contributed to the publication of misleading or deceptive financial statements about the company.

According to Business Report, Steinhoff was rocked by an accounting scandal in 2017, with audit firm Deloitte confirming the accounting irregularities.

In October last year, the disgraced businessman appeal against a fine given by the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) to the value of R15m, was upheld by the Financial Services Tribunal.

At the time, IOL reported that The JSE imposed “a public censure and the maximum permissible fine of R7,500,000 for Steinhoff’s consolidated financial statements for the 2015 and prior financial periods and for the 15 months ended September 30, 2016, which did not comply with IFRS and the Listings Requirements, and was incorrect, false and misleading in material aspects”.

Furthermore, the exchange also stated that Jooste would be given a “public censure and a permissible fine of R7,500,000 for his breaches of the listings requirements regarding the Steinhoff at Work transaction”.

In addition, Jooste was served with an arrest warrant by a German court last year.

According to Bloomberg, the Regional Court of Oldenburg issued the warrant.

Born in Cape Town in 1961, Jooste rose through the ranks of the business world with a combination of sharp intelligence, undeniable charisma, and an ambitious vision for the future.

His early career was marked by significant achievements in the South African corporate sector, leading him to the pinnacle of his profession as the CEO of Steinhoff International, a global retail conglomerate with operations across Europe, Africa, and Australasia.

The avid horse breeder in 2016 was reported to be one of Africa's richest people, worth $400 million, according to Wikipedia.

Under Jooste's leadership, Steinhoff experienced unprecedented growth, expanding its footprint through aggressive acquisitions and diversification strategies.

His ability to navigate complex international markets and merge differing corporate cultures under the Steinhoff umbrella was widely regarded as a testament to his business acumen.

However, Jooste's illustrious career took a dramatic turn in December 2017 when allegations of accounting irregularities surfaced, leading to his immediate resignation.

The revelation sent shockwaves through the financial world, wiping billions off Steinhoff's market value and sparking investigations by regulatory authorities across several countries.

In just one week around R160 billion of Steinhoff's value wiped off the markets in a matter of days

The scandal, often compared to the Enron debacle in its scope and impact, highlighted significant flaws in corporate governance and financial oversight.

The years following his departure from Steinhoff were marred by legal battles, public scrutiny, and the unravelling of Jooste's once unassailable reputation.

Accused of orchestrating a complex fraud that inflated profits and asset values, Jooste became a central figure in discussions about corporate ethics, responsibility, and the consequences of unchecked ambition.

IOL has reached out to the South African Police Service and the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (also known as the Hawks) for comment.

This is a developing story.