Banking CEO salaries climb even higher

 ·3 Apr 2014
online digital banking FNB capitec absa standard bank nedbank

Chief executives in charge of South Africa’s largest consumer banks command some of the largest salaries in the country.

Over the past week, Nedbank and Absa have published their Integrated Report revealing the remuneration package of their executives.

BusinessTech provides a snapshot of what banking executives earned in 2013.


Nedbank CEO, Mike Brown remains the highest-paid banking executive, taking home as much as R32.5 million for 2013.

This comprised a R6.53 million salary (up 4.6% from 2012), R13 million in performance bonuses and R13 million in share-based awards.

Brown’s total package was 13.2% higher than the R28.75 million he earned in 2012.

Nedbank grew its retail customer segment by 529,000 or 9%, to 6.4 million during the period ended December 2013, while total clients advanced 10% to 6.7 million.

Headline earnings increased 15.9% to 8.67 billion rand, while headline earnings per share increased 15 percent to R18.29, the bank said.


Barclays Africa (Absa) head Maria Ramos’ basic salary remained unchanged in 2013 at R6.68 million.

However, with the addition of R22 million in bonuses and other variable income, the executive’s total pay amounted to R28.65 million for 2013.

In 2012, Ramos opted not to take a performance bonus for the year, due to the company’s  disappointing financial performance.

With her base salary and long-term incentive plan, however, the Absa lead still took home R16.65 million.

This means that her 2013 salary is as much as 72% more than it was in 2012 – the biggest jump amongst banking CEOs in South Africa.

Moneyweb noted that in Absa’s 2014 board fee structure, its chairman gets a salary of R4.5 million a year, up 17%.

The range of increases for other board and committee positions is at between 13-14% with a few outliers on both sides.

Average increases for the remainder of Absa’s staff in 2014 amounts to an increase of between 6% to 7.5%, Moneyweb said.

In February, Absa’s parent company, Barclays Africa Group, released its full year results for 2013.

The earnings were the first since Barclays sold a large chunk of its African operations to Absa in exchange for a larger stake in the group, to 62.3%.

Barclays Africa Group said its headline earnings increased 14% to R11.84 billion,while total revenue advanced 8% to R59.4 billion.

Maria Ramos

Maria Ramos


Former FNB CEO, Michael Jordaan – who stepped down from the position at the end of 2013 – pocketed R22.1 million in 2013, up 29.2% from R17.089 million in 2012.

Jordaan’s cash package totalled R4.917 million (2012: R4.604 million), with performance related incentives and share awards covering the rest.

Jacques Celliers succeeded Jordaan as head of the bank, late 2013.


Capitec CEO, Riaan Stassen, saw a relatively small increase in his total pay in 2013, pocketing R10.8 million, up 2.6% from R10.52 million in 2012.

Despite having the lowest total paycheque out of the SA banks, Stassen received the biggest overall salary – or guaranteed cash payment – of R9.6 million.

Banking CEO salaries, 2013 (ZAR millions)

Bank CEO Base salary 2013
Total package 2013
Nedbank Mike Brown 6.532 32.532
Absa Maria Ramos 6.658 28.658
FNB Michael Jordaan 4.917 22.108
Capitec Riaan Stassen 9.605 10.799

Standard Bank has not yet released its annual report for 2013, but retired former chief executive, Jacko Maree took home a package of R18 million in 2012 (basic salary of R6.34 million).

Maree’s 2012 remuneration package was 34% less than the R27.2 million pocketed the year prior.

Maree has been succeeded by two joint-CEOs at the bank: Ben Kruger and Sim Tshabalala.

SA banking CEO salary increase/decrease, 2011 – 2013 (ZAR millions)

Salary 2011 Salary 2012 2011-2012 change
Salary 2013 2012-2013 change
Absa 20.7 16.66 -19.5% 28.66 72.0%
FNB 14.79 17.1 15.6% 22.1 29.2%
Nedbank 26.14 28.75 10.0% 32.53 13.2%
Capitec 11.16 10.52 -5.7% 10.8 2.6%
Standard Bank 27.24 18.0 -34.0% TBA TBD

While CEOs heading up multi-billion rand tech and telecom operations take home millions each year in their own right, most do not compare to the financial sector in South Africa.

The only tech executives to buck this particular trend are MTN Group’s chief executive, Sifiso Dabengwa – whose 2013 pay package more than doubled to R48 million – and Naspers’ exiting lead, Koos Bekker, who, in lieu of a salary, rakes in shares worth billions.

More on SA banking

Which banking CEO earns the highest salary?

Are banking CEOs paid their worth?

Salary disconnect in SA IT industry

What SA’s tech top dogs get paid

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