What the CEOs of South Africa’s 10 biggest companies get paid

 ·19 Jul 2023

The ten biggest listed companies on the Johannesburg stock exchange (JSE) have a combined market capitalisation of a whopping R15.2 trillion, which results in big CEO paydays, with the highest earner making a substantial R726,027 per day.

Being a CEO is a demanding role with its fair share of stresses and challenges. In the context of South Africa, CEOs face a unique set of circumstances that can amplify the pressures they experience.

The CEO of a company that operates in South Africa must navigate a complex business environment.

Economic instability, political uncertainty, and high levels of inequality pose significant challenges for CEOs trying to steer their companies towards success. Balancing the need for profitability with social responsibility can be a delicate and stressful task.

Additionally, CEOs in South Africa often grapple with the ongoing issue of transformation and diversity in the workplace. The country’s history of apartheid has created a legacy of inequality, and CEOs are pressured to address this and promote inclusive practices within their organisations.

This requires developing strategies to foster diversity, equity, and inclusion while managing potential resistance and cultural sensitivities.

Moreover, CEOs in South Africa must contend with various operational challenges, such as fluctuating exchange rates, skills shortages, and unreliable infrastructure. These factors can hinder growth, increase costs, and stress the CEO’s responsibilities significantly.

CEOs also face intense scrutiny from stakeholders, including shareholders, employees, government bodies, and the media.

They are expected to deliver results, maintain a positive public image, and adhere to stringent corporate governance standards.

CEO pay

Considering the dynamic challenges posed to companies operating in South Africa, BusinessTech looked at the top 10 JSE-listed companies by market capitalisation to see what their CEOs earned.

It must be noted that some of these companies are multinational, meaning their remuneration figures were presented in dollars ($) or pounds (£). To standardise the salaries offered in this article, the total remuneration amounts were converted to rands using the applicable exchange rate as of 17 July 2023.

Total remuneration includes:

  • Guaranteed pay;
  • Benefits;
  • Short-term incentives;
  • Long-term incentives.

It might come as no surprise that the CEO of the biggest JSE-listed company, BHP Billiton Group, is also the highest paid on our list – with the group reporting a substantial market cap of R2.85 trillion.

The CEO of the mining group, Mike Henry, took home a whopping $14.7 million (R265 million) in 2022. This figure includes base salary, short-term incentives, cash bonuses, benefits and long-term incentive plans.

BHP Billiton Group CEO, Mike Henry.

This is 2.5 times more than what Prosus N.V. and Naspers CEO Bob van Dijk was paid (R107.2 million) and over five times more than the lowest-paid CEO on this list, FirstRand’s Alan Pullinger, who earned R48.29 million.

The second highest-paid CEO is British American Tabacco’s Jack Bowles, who earned R227.5 million or R623,241 per day, and the third is Jerome Lambert (CEO of Richemont), earning R167.7 million or R459,452 per day.

Ahead of Pullinger in the bottom three, the second lowest-paid CEO among the top companies was Standard Bank’s Sim Tshabalala, who earned R55.69 million or R152,575 per day, while the third lowest paid was Anglo American’s Duncan Wanblad – earning R104 million or R284,953 per day.

The complete list of the top 10 JSE-listed companies, showing their respective market caps and CEO pay, is given in the table below.

CompanyMarket cap.CEOAnnual salaryPer day
BHP BillitonR2.85 trillionMike Henry$14.7m (R265 million)R726,027
Prosus N.V.R2.82 trillionBob van DijkR107.2 millionR293,698
AB InBev**R1.83 trillionMichel Doukeris$7.83m (R141.2 million)R386,827
RichemontR1.68 trillionJerome LambertCHf7.98m (R167.7 million)R459,452
Glencore*R1.61 trillionGary Nagle$6.071m (R109.5 million)R300,000
Naspers R1.49 trillionBob van DijkR107.2 millionR293,698
British American Tabacco*R1.47 trillionJack Bowles£9.617m (R227.5 million)R623,241
Anglo American R745.37 billionDuncan Wanblad£4.397m (R104 million)R284,953
FirstRand*R391.88 billionAlan PullingerR48.29 millionR132,301
Standard Bank R307.63 billionSim TshabalalaR55.69 millionR152,575
*Companies marked with a single asterisk have yet to release 2022/23 annual results. In these cases, we used figures from the previous year’s results.
**AB InBev’s compensation report didn’t give a total figure for Michel Doukeris’s remuneration. However, we summed up his pay based on what was outlined as his pay in the report, which included: Base salary ($1.39 million), Bonus ($5.95 million), Benefits ($0.3 million), and Pension contribution ($0.19 million).

Read: How much you need to earn to be in the richest 1% in South Africa

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