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Top-earning telecom CEOs in SA

Top-earning telecom CEOs in SA

South African teleco firms rake in millions, if not billions of Rands every year in revenue – and a fair chunk of that wealth makes its way to the men (and women) in the driving seat.

Running a massive company or global group is no simple feat, and as such, chief executives are duly rewarded for the many sleepless nights, stressful days and hundreds of hours put in to making their businesses work.

But how much do you get paid if you’re the CEO of a multi-million Rand operation?

Turning through the pages of South Africa’s biggest telecom giants’ annual reports, it can be seen quite clearly that the chief executives who direct the companies to profit, make a pretty profit, themselves – and rightly so.

Here are the top-paid telecoms CEOs in South Africa:

CEO Company Basic Salary (R) Benefits/Bonuses (R) Total Earned (R)
Phuthuma Nhleko MTN 8 955 000 21 415 000 30 370 000
Pieter Uys Vodacom 6 728 125 6 445 123 13 190 826
Mark Levy Blue Label Telecom 5 965 000 84 000 6 049 000
Brett Levy Blue Label Telecom 5 958 000 91 000 6 049 000
Craig Venter Altech 4 812 000 3 191 000 8 003 000
Reuben September Telkom 2 583 881 4 008 228 6 592 109

Phuthuma Nhleko

Phuthuma Nhleko was CEO of MTN Group until 31 March 2011, and was succeeded by current Group CEO, Sifiso Dabengwa. Remunerations paid to Mr. Nhleko were for the year ending 31 December 2010, as reported in MTN’s 2010/2011 annual report.

Included in the remunerations paid were a R1,13 million retirement benefit, as well as a R20,2 million bonus. Nhleko was also a paid a further R33 million on 1 April 2011, as part of a 3-year restraint of trade agreement held between him and MTN.

Brett and Mark Levy

Blue Label Telecoms’ co-CEOs denied themselves an allocated bonus in the year ending 31 March 2011, having done the same the previous year (31 May 2010) after being dissatisfied with the company’s financial performance.

The aggregate sum of the bonuses amounts to R9 million, according to Blue Label Telecom’s annual report.

Reuben September

Reuben September was Telkom’s CEO until 7 July 2010. He was Telkom’s CEO for 3 months before departing, and still earned R6,592,109 for the time he spent at the company over that financial year.

Telkom is set to release its financial results for the period ending 31 March 2011, later this year on 11 June 2012.

Alan Knott-Craig

During Alan Knott-Craig’s years at Vodacom, the method of reporting on CEO and executive’s remuneration wasn’t handled on an individual basis – but rather grouped together in a single figure hitting into the millions.

R71.2 million was paid to Vodacom Group’s directors in 2008.

Speculation persists on the exact figure which Knott-Craig was paid as CEO, but it’s safe to say he was one of the highest-paid telecom CEOs at the time – and may very well continue to be so in his new position as Cell C’s chief executive officer.

Cell C is not a listed company and is not obligated to report on such figures, however.

Related articles

Vodacom and MTN mum on Knott-Craig taking over at Cell C

Poor corporate governance is hurting Telkom

Telecoms shares growth over the last 12 months

Blue Label talks up cash resources


Quinton is a business and technology journalist who dabbles in media and graphic design. He holds a degree in Journalism from the University of Johannesburg....
Tags: Alan Knott-Craig, Altech, Blue Label Telecoms, Brett Levy, Craig Venter, Headline, Mark Levy, MTN, Phuthuma Nhleko, Pieter Uys, Reuben September, Sifiso Dabengwa, Telkom, Vodacom

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Join the Conversation ( 5 comments)
  • Guest

    Not bad income for a year’s work. Telecoms in SA seems to pay well for the top dogs.

  • BDL

    Does anyone actually deserve to earn this much???????????

  • pitbull146

    Thats why we are paying 4 times the price for our calls compared to say Namibia. Thieves liars and vagabonds…………….

  • Rob

    And who is the first to go when things aren’t going so well? Not the CEO’s salary but the average guy working in the store. Not to mention how ridiculous this looks when noting how high our mobile call and data rates are (and never seem to drop – how long has Vodascum and MTN been charging R2 per mb?)

  • Riaanwatson

    WTF??? 30mil a year?? If we only got value for our money thats paying these salaries, most of these companies services suck!!!

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