Poundland owner Steinhoff International has seen its shares fall 60% after it said it would launch an investigation into the accounting irregularities.
He came in as ceo, Markus Jooste, has resigned, and the South African group delayed the full-year results.
In South Africa shares hit a seven-year low of 17.56 rand (97p) on the stock exchange of Johannesburg.
Shares in the company, which has 40 local brands in more than 30 countries, later recovered to 22 rand, still down 52%.
As well as furniture and utensils, he also sells products, including clothing, footwear and consumer goods.
Its brands include Bensons for Beds and Harveys in the UK, and Conforama in Europe, Pep and Ackermans in South Africa and Snooze in Australia. Steinhoff derives approximately 60% of its revenues in Europe and 34% in Africa.
Of “new information”
Mr Jooste had been in charge for almost two decades and oversaw Steinhoff of the expansion from a furniture manufacturer in South Africa, one of the largest global household goods retailers.
The company said late Tuesday that he had resigned with immediate effect after the discovery of new information has prompted the company to request PwC to perform an “independent investigation”.
“The supervisory board of Steinhoff, wishes to inform its shareholders that new information has come to light today that relates to the accounting irregularities that require further investigation,” the group said in a statement.
Steinhoff’s majority shareholder and chairman, the billionaire Christo Wiese, will take over a responsible position on an interim basis.
The group has been the subject of an investigation for suspected accounting irregularities by the prosecutor of the republic to Oldenburg in Germany from 2015.
It is not clear if these are the accounting irregularities the company has made reference in its statement.