Some of SA's best-paid jobs are non-executive ones
The chairman of two of Australia's biggest companies, Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton, were the best-paid non-executive directors in SA last year.
Australian Don Argus, who stepped down as chairman of the world's biggest mining company BHP Billiton in March, which is also listed on the JSE, took home R8.5-million, including benefits of R1-million, to attend seven board and four remuneration committee meetings. This brings his pay per meeting to more than R770000.
In second place was Rio Tinto chairman Jan du Plessis, who stepped down as chair of British American Tobacco (BAT) in October last year. Du Plessis was paid nearly R8.4-million for his work at BAT, including benefits of R1-million. Du Plessis attended seven board meetings during the period.
Cyril Ramaphosa was the best-paid non-executive who still has his high-earning job. He took home nearly R8.4-million in 2009, just less that Du Plessis, for serving as a director for seven companies.
The bulk of his pay came from Mondi, which paid him R4.03-million to serve as joint chairman with David Williams. In 2009 Ramaphosa attended eight board meetings, meaning he earned just over R500000 per meeting.
Ramaphosa, whose day job is at his investment company Shanduka, also earned R2.3-million from MTN, where he attended four scheduled board meetings and 10 special meetings that were scheduled at short notice, giving him a perfect attendance record. He also serves on the boards of Alexander Forbes, Assore, Bidvest, SABMiller and Standard Bank.
While Ramaphosa was the top overall earner among non-executive directors, retired Standard Bank chairman Derek Cooper earned the highest fees from a locally-headquartered company. Cooper was paid R4.41-million, including benefits of R162000, to attend five board and nine committee meetings.
Academic-turned-executive Jakes Gerwel took home R5.9-million to serve as a director of Brimstone, Naspers and SA Airways (he has since left the airline). He earned R4.48-million from Brimstone, which included gains of R3.9-million on shares. According to the King Code of good corporate governance, non-executive directors should not own shares in the companies on whose boards they sit.
Fred Phaswana, who started his management career at BP in the '80s, earned nearly R4.6-million from his directorships of six companies. Anglo American was the biggest source of income for Phaswana, who took home R2.1-million for attending 13 out of 15 board and committee meetings. He resigned from Anglo's board in January.
Old Mutual paid former Eskom chairman Reuel Khoza nearly R4.4-million for his services in 2009. Khoza attended all 11 board meetings scheduled for the year, earning nearly R400000 per meeting.
He also served on the board of Nampak, where he was paid R130000.
With 11 board memberships, serial non-executive Len Konar, another former academic, held the record in 2009 for the highest number of companies served. He earned R4.8-million, which included benefits of R43000. Steinhoff paid him the highest fee - R1.2-million - followed by R800000 from Alexander Forbes.
His other board memberships include the Development Bank of Southern Africa, Exxaro Resources, Illovo Sugar, JD Group, Kap International, Makalani Holdings, Mustek and Sentech.
Konar was previously professor and head of accountancy at the University of Durban-Westville.
David Nurek, another serial non-executive, earned R3.1-million for chairing Foschini, Lewis and Distell and serving as a director at Aspen, Clicks, Trencor and Sun International.
Nurek started his career as a law clerk at Sonnenberg, Hoffman & Galombik in Cape Town in 1969, where he practised commercial law for 32 years. His day job is global head of legal risk at Investec.
Attorney Ben van der Ross was paid R3.2-million for his services as non-executive director at Distell, FirstRand, Lewis, Makalani Holdings, Naspers and Pick n Pay.
Van der Ross, who was a commissioner of the Independent Electoral Commission for the first democratic elections in SA in 1994, earned R2.03-million from FirstRand.