Steinhoff SNHJ.J SNHG.DE said chief executive Markus Jooste, who oversaw its expansion to one of the world's largest household goods retailers over almost 20 years, had resigned and PwC would undertake an "independent investigation".
"We're going to have to look very, very carefully and what comes out of the investigation and obviously, we are very keen to get information into the market as soon as possible".
Steinhoff said its chairman and largest shareholder Christo Wiese would take temporary charge while a successor to Mr Jooste was identified.
The owner of the France-based Conforama furniture store chain and Pep clothing stores in Africa has appointed auditor PwC to probe the matter, it said in a statement on Tuesday.
The company also dropped a January 31, 2018 deadline for publishing its audited 2017 consolidated financial statements, saying it would only do so "when it is in a position to do so".
But in its announcement on Tuesday, it said: "The Supervisory Board wishes to reassure shareholders that Steinhoff has a number of high quality profitable businesses around the world".
"Steinhoff will update the market as the aforesaid investigation proceeds, ' the company said in a statement".
The company announced that new information had emerged which required investigation into accounting irregularities, and said it was unable to publish its financial results as a result.
Kepler Cheuvreux said the pending tax and accounting investigations "could show severe irregularities".
Former manufacturing arm of Steinhoff Industrial, KAP's share price fell 14% to R7.45.
"In addition, the company will determine whether any prior years' financial statements will need to be restated".
The CEO of recently unbundled Steinhoff African Retail (Star), Ben la Grange, has also resigned with immediate effect but will remain as a nonexecutive director on Star's board.
Earlier this year, Steinhoff acquired a majority stake in mattress producer Sherwood Bedding, a family-owned company based in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
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