Naspers has denied that its CEO Bob van Dijk reportedly earned R1.6bn in the year ended March 31, 2018, saying that he has not yet cashed in his share options.
This comes after TechCentral reported on 20 July that Van Dijk had collected approximately R1.6bn in different types of remuneration in the past financial year.
In a follow-up report on Monday, Business Day reported that Naspers would be heading for a stormy annual general meeting as shareholders "demand an explanation for the R1.6bn collected by the CEO".
"Bob van Dijk’s total cash take for the year was $2.4m. This puts his total cash receipt at the lower end of the cash pay scale of global industry competitors. None of his share-based incentives, even those that vested, were cashed in," said Aileen O’Toole, Naspers Chief People Officer, in response to questions from Fin24.
According to Naspers' remuneration report, Van Dijk earned $2.4m (about R32m) in cash in the year ended March 31. This includes a salary of $1.332m (R17.75m) and a bonus of $1.064m (R14.18m).
This does not include his share options, which run into hundreds of millions of rands.
The reported R1.6bn figure was arrived at by combining all the different types of remuneration listed in the newly released remuneration report, part of its Integrated Annual Report for 2018.
In a statement, O’Toole said Van Dijk had not exercised his share options, and therefore had not yet seen financial gains from these in the past financial year.
"As Bob has not exercised any options or share appreciation rights, he has received no financial gain. Until he does exercise, the value of these awards will continue to go up OR down in line with the business performance," she said.
The Federation of Unions of South Africa (Fedusa) earlier on Tuesday called on Naspers’ shareholders to use the United Nations Principle of Responsible Investment to probe Van Dijk’s total salary package. The labour organisation maintained that the media giant’s updated remuneration report should be voted against at the upcoming Annual General Meeting on August 24.
"Fedusa believes that the exorbitant bonus is insensitive to the plight of workers who are battered by low wages, food and transport inflation on a daily basis in an austere economic environment that has been compounded by VAT increasing to 15% for the first time in 25 years," the trade union federation said in a statement on Tuesday.
Fedusa called on Naspers management to "show ethical leadership" and forego their "generous rewards" in solidarity with retrenched workers, battling in a difficult economic environment.
Founder and director of investment website JustOneLap.com, Simon Brown, said that it was difficult to compare Van Dijk’s remuneration to the head of another ICT company on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, such as Telkom’s group CEO Sipho Maseko, who received a R27.1m package in the 2018 financial year. Telkom released its Integrated Report for the year ended March 31, 2018 on Tuesday.
Brown said Van Dijk's remuneration should rather be compared to the head of a global technology company, such as Apple.
In a bid to improve transparency, Naspers released an updated remuneration policy to end March 2018, which Brown said had improved in transparency from their previous documents.
Shareholders and investors voted against the 2016 and 2017 remuneration policies, according to Asief Mohamed, chief investment officer at Aeon Investment.
* Fin24 is part of Media24, which is owned by Naspers.
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