Meet the South African bosses who earn around R140,000 a day

South Africa’s big banks have all published their full annual reports for the 2018 financial year, detailing how much their chief executive officers are remunerated.

South Africa’s retail banking chiefs are some of the best paid executives in the country, as they continue to post impressive profits for their companies while working in a difficult environment.

FNB boss Jacques Celliers was the lowest paid CEO, taking home just over R29 million for the 2018 financial year. However this data is for the year ended June 2018, so is not quite as up-to-date as the other groups.

By comparison, Capitec CEO Gerrie Fourie was the highest paid boss taking home R56.6 million in 2018.

Stats SA’s latest Quarterly Employment Survey, showed that the average employee in South Africa earns R20,190 a month, or R242,280 a year.

A 2018 report by remuneration consultancy 21st Century found that CEOs at large cap companies earn an average basic salary of R5.35 million, with short-term and long-term incentives taken into account, this would bring the average closer to R13 million.

On a guaranteed package level, the average large-cap CEO earns around 20 times more than the average employee (R274,525).

South Africa’s biggest banking groups buck this trend by some margin, with the average CEO being paid a basic salary of R9.3 million – and when bonuses and incentives are factored in this jumps to an average of R44.6 million.

Previous research by BusinessTech found that the average banking CEO gets paid 102 times more than the average employee in the sector.

Here’s how the country’s retail banking CEOs got paid in the 2018 financial year (2018 for Capitec), including how much they made over 365 days.

Capitec CEO – Gerrie Fourie – R155,068 a day

Group CEO, Gerrie Fourie nearly doubled his take-home pay for the year to, R95 million, having received a R56.6 million payout in 2018, thanks mainly to a long-term incentive (LTI), along with a 10% increase in his basic pay package.

His guaranteed pay amounts to R11.65 million, while he scored R78.669 million for LTIs, giving Fourie a daily pay packet of R260,263 a day.

The bank continues to grow its client base (15% over the past year), to 11.4 million. On average, it said that 127,000 clients join the bank each month.

FirstRand CEO – Johan Burger  & FNB CEO – Jacques Celliers – R135,260 & R80,246 a day


FirstRand CEO Johan Burger was paid R49.37 million for the 2018 financial year.  However this is for the year ended June 2018.

FNB CEO Jacques Celliers was paid R29.29 million for the 2018 financial year.

FirstRand’s new salary information will be published in October.

Standard Bank CEO – Sim Tshabalala – R135,287 a day

Standard Bank CEO, Sim Tshabalala’s pay amounted to R49.38 million. This comprised of his fixed salary of R10 million, and a cash reward of R11.35 million.

The group CEO also received a deferred award of R14 million as well as a performance award of the same amount.

Tshabalala’s salary equates to him earning around R135,000 a day.

Nedbank CEO – Mike Brown – R145,205 a day

Mike Brown Photographer: Waldo Swiegers/Bloomberg

Nedbank paid its top six executives a combined R210.2 million in 2018, averaging R35 million per executive.

CEO Mike Brown was the best paid, taking home a total package of R53 million for the year.

This included a guaranteed salary of R8.5 million, a cash bonus of the same amount, a short-term incentive payout of R16 million, and a long-term incentive (LTI) of R16.5 million ‘at face value’.

Taking into account share performance and dividend payouts, the LTI value increases, giving a single figure remuneration of R53 million.

Absa CEO – Maria Ramos – R81,369 a day

Maria Ramos Photographer: Olivier Douliery/Bloomberg

Retired Absa CEO Maria Ramos earned a total pay package of R29.7 million in her final year at the financial services company, topping off her decade as chief executive of the group.

Ramos announced her retirement from Absa in January 2019, with her plan to leave the company after her 60th birthday in February.

Ramos’ guaranteed pay was cut from just under R15 million in 2017, to R13.8 million in 2018, with a short-term incentive of R15.9 million – taking her total pay to R29.7 million for the year.

Though not paid out for 2018, the bank still lists a cost-to-company for Ramos of R10 million to be paid out in the 2019 financial year.

Absa paid a total of R74 million to its executive directors and R68 million to its prescribed officers, totalling R142 million for the year, averaging R15.8 million per executive.

Salary breakdown

The salaries below show the total remuneration received by the respective CEOs in the 2018 financial year.

It also shows what their guaranteed salaries are – excluding bonuses, shares and the various short term and reported long term incentives that make up the majority of their annual take-home pay.

Bank CEO 2018 Salary* ZAR per day Excluding bonuses
Capitec Gerrie Fourie R56.60 million R155 068 R31 918
FirstRand Johan Burger R49.37 million R135 260 R28 027
Standard Bank Sim Tshabalala R49.38 million R135 288 R27 342
Nedbank Mike Brown R53.00 million R145 205 R23 479
Absa Maria Ramos R29.70 million R81 370 R23 562
FNB Jacques Celliers R29.29 million R80 247 R19 425
Average R44.55 million R139 603 R25 626

* Capitec salary information represents FY2019

Read: Organised crime syndicates are using fake debit orders to take billions of rands from South Africans

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Meet the South African bosses who earn around R140,000 a day