The JSE building in Sandton. Photo: Elvira Wood
  • A new PwC report shows non-executive directors on JSE-listed company boards are earning on average around R1 million a year. 
  • Board chairpersons get much more, with the ten biggest JSE-listed companies - which include international behemoths - paying on average R12 million a year.
  • Chairperson pay jumped by more than 12% in what was a tough year for most companies.
  • For more articles, go to www.BusinessInsider.co.za.

Serving on the board of a large company can be extremely lucrative, with the chairpersons of the top ten JSE-listed firms earning on average R12 million a year – that’s almost R33,000 every day of the year.

The latest PricewaterhouseCoopers report on non-executive directors in South Africa also shows large pay increases for company chairpersons in the year to end-October – despite the Covid-19 pandemic which has wreaked havoc on most bottom lines.

Non-executive directors are appointed from outside of a company, and are not involved in its day-to-day to management. But they play an important role in overseeing the company’s strategy, performance, sustainability and diversity. They must also approve the pay packages of executives, including the CEO.

There are 2,106 non-executive directors on JSE boards, with 200 of them serving on two boards. Almost 100 directors serve on three or more company boards.

Chairpersons, who head company boards, earned on average R1.895 million in the year to end-October. 

Source: PwC

Some 75% of the chairpersons earned more than R473,000 (the lower quartile number on the graph), while 25% earned more than R1.733 million (upper quartile)

The median pay for a chairperson was R934,000 - compared to R834,000 in the previous year, according to the previous PwC report. This is a whopping increase of 12% - compared to the previous year's 6% rise.

The average pay for the chairpersons of the so-called "super caps" - the ten biggest companies on the JSE, which include BHP, Anglo American Platinum, Prosus, Naspers and British American Tobacco - reached R12 million a year.

Source: PwC

But there was a big difference between what chairpersons earned at the large international companies, which have listings in SA, compared to the local companies. For example, BHP paid its chairperson Ken MacKenzie $880,000 (R13 million) - while former Vodacom chairperson Jabu Moleketi (who has since been replaced by Saki Macozoma) earned R2.871 million.

The report shows that non-executive directors of JSE-listed companies earned R1.04 million on average, with the median pay almost unchanged from the previous years.

Source: PwC

Non-executive directors of super-cap companies earned on average R3.6 million

The report also shows that almost half of all non-executive directors are white - while less than 10% of South Africa's population is from this population group. Some 40% of directors are black.

Source: PwC

The average age of chairpersons was 62, while non-executive directors are on average 57 years old.

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