Africa’s Biggest Food Retailer Doubles CEO’s Pay After Bonus

  • Shoprite’s Whitey Basson gets 100 million rand for fiscal 2016
  • Trading profit growth beat internal target; shares declined

Shoprite Holdings Ltd. doubled Chief Executive Officer Whitey Basson’s pay last fiscal year to 100.1 million rand ($7.4 million), thanks to a bonus from Africa’s largest food retailer for beating a profit-growth target.

Basson’s remuneration included 49.7 million rand in basic pay for the 12 months through June, in line with the previous year, and a 50 million rand one-time performance-related bonus, the Cape Town-based company said in its annual report. Trading profit growth of 15 percent beat an internal target of 11 percent, the retailer said.

Dave Lewis, the CEO of Tesco Plc, the U.K.’s biggest supermarket chain, got 4.63 million pounds ($5.96 million) in fiscal 2016. Iain Moir, the CEO of South African food and clothes retailer Woolworths Holdings Ltd., was paid 53.7 million rand in the year ended June 26, including base salary of 16.4 million rand and a performance-related bonus of 15 million rand. 

The decision comes less than a year after the South African government-owned Public Investment Corp. voted against the company’s remuneration policy because the 50.1 million rand pay awarded to Basson was mostly a fixed payment, rather than a performance-based salary. The Pretoria-based PIC owns almost 10 percent of Shoprite, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The money manager couldn’t immediately comment on the 2016 pay.

Other reasons given by Shoprite for the bonus include that Basson hasn’t received a basic pay increase since 2013 and no one-time payments for five fiscal years, according to the report. The retailer also cited the CEO’s length of service at the company. The 70-year-old has worked at Shoprite for 45 years and has been at the helm since 1979.

“Recently in South Africa it has become a trend for retailers to recruit their CEOs from multinational retailers outside” the country, Shoprite said. “The war for talent in this space is not confined to the African continent.”

Shoprite shares gained 1.5 percent to 194.18 rand as of 3:01 p.m. in Johannesburg on Monday, valuing the retailer at 112 billion rand. The stock fell 4.1 percent during the year through June, compared with a 1.9 percent gain on the FTSE/JSE Africa Food & Drug Retailers Index.

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