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Tag: Pierre van Tonder

Former Spur CEO Dies in Hospital

Former Spur CEO Pierre van Tonder died on Sunday evening, the Restaurant Group announced on Monday, following his suicide attempt last week.

“Pierre passed away peacefully in hospital. We extend our deepest sympathies and sincere condolences to his wife, Jane, and children Margot and Jordan,” said Val Nichas, CEO of Spur Corporation.

Van Tonder, who retired from the restaurant chain in December after spending almost four decades working his way up from a junior restaurant manager to MD and CEO, shot himself at his Sea Point home a week ago.  He managed the Spur group for 24 years as it expanded into 16 other countries and bought the steakhouse Hussar Grill and the RocoMamas burger chain and Nikoz brands.

Val Nichas said: “We thank everyone for their overwhelming support and prayers for Pierre over the past week. He was a much-loved friend and colleague to so many Spur employees and franchisees down the years.”

The Spur Group asked that Van Tonder’s family’s privacy be respected and they be given time to mourn his passing.  The Corporation said that under Van Tonder’s leadership, the group expanded from a small business of about 40 restaurants into a multi-brand group with more than 630 restaurants in 17 countries.

Former Spur chief survives suicide attempt

Former Spur chief executive Pierre van Tonder shot himself in the basement of his Sea Point, Cape Town flat on Sunday morning, May 2, 2021  in an apparent suicide attempt. Van Tonder survived the incident and is currently in critical condition in a Cape Town hospital.

The reasons for the suicide attempt are not known, but friends said Van Tonder had been struggling recently with depression.

Van Tonder has only recently left Spur, following a long and very successful career with the restaurant chain, which he ran as MD and CEO for 24 years. He worked for Spur for 38 years, starting as a trainee manager at Seven Spur in Cape Town at the age of 23.

Current CEO Val Bourdos said people in the company were devastated by the news and were trying to do what they could to support the family. The company would be making a formal statement later in the day.

Van Tonder was heralded for what he had done to build the company over the years. Spur currently has 640 franchise restaurants under the Spur, Panarottis, Hussar Grill and John Dory brands.

The coronavirus pandemic and the consequent shutdowns have obviously had an effect on the company, but it had generally been hanging in, and more recently trading in the company had revived somewhat.

In a recent interview published by News24, Van Tonder did not join with some other business leaders criticising the lockdown process, saying from a utopian point of view he would have liked the lockdowns to be lifted immediately, but he understood that the state had a fine balancing act to perform.

The company’s most recent results suggest it’s rebounding somewhat from the lockdown crisis, although total restaurant sales declined by 29.4% to R2.9 billion for the six months to 31 December 2020.

The company said trading has improved in February since the easing of Level 3 trading restrictions announced on 2 February 2021, which was encouraging for both the company and its franchisee partners.

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