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'Bell Pottinger CEO Resigning Is Not Enough'

James Henderson still owns 40% of the UK-based PR firm.

04/09/2017 10:30 SAST | Updated 04/09/2017 10:30 SAST
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Gupta-linked public relations (PR) firm Bell Pottinger's CEO James Henderson resigned on Monday following a UK PR body finding that the company was in breach of the industry's code of conduct.

Henderson has, however, denied any wrongdoing in his personal capacity. He told the BBC on Sunday: "While I had no involvement in the account, there were warning signs that I should have heeded. Therefore, I must take responsibility."

Henderson's resignation as CEO comes on the same day that the Public Relations and Communications Association will meet with Bell Pottinger, which has appealed the ruling against it. The ruling found that Bell Pottinger attempted to sow racial hatred in South Africa.

The DA's Phumzile van Damme responded in a statement on Monday: "James Henderson's decision to relinquish his role as CEO of Bell Pottinger is not in any way an act of valour. He owns 40% of the firm and remains a majority shareholder," she said.

Henderson is engaged to South African property magnate Sol Kerzner's ex-wife Heather Kerzner, who recently took a 15% stake in Bell Pottinger. Kerzner spoke out about the scandal for the first time in an interview with the Daily Mail this weekend.

"I have a huge affection for South Africa and South Africans, even after Sol and I were divorced,' she said. 'I would never invest in a company that would do anything to harm South Africa or its people. The impact on both of us has been horrendous. It is devastating."