Steinhoff just backed off from asking shareholders to pay directors up to R7.3 million each – so that those directors themselves can make the decision later
- Steinhoff wanted shareholders to sign off on a plan that would see individual payments of up to R7.3 million to members of its supervisory board.
- After losing their shirts to what many consider fraud, shareholders were not amused at the idea.
- Steinhoff said it would take that proposal off the table at its upcoming annual general meeting – so that the board members can figure out their own pay at a later stage.
It will no longer ask shareholders to sign off on a plan to pay its supervisory board members up to R7.3 million each in 2018, Steinhoff said on Thursday morning.
Instead it will leave the decision on how much extra they should be paid to those board members themselves, down the line.
"The supervisory board has taken note of the concerns raised by stakeholders in connection with the previously proposed remuneration of the supervisory board," the company said in a notice to shareholders.
Some shareholders – who believe they have been defrauded by Steinhoff – reacted with horror at a proposal that supervisory board members get large increases for their recent work.
See also: South Africans will be able to shout at Steinhoff directors from Cape Town in April – but won’t be able to directly vote at its AGM
At an annual general meeting (AGM) on 20 April, shareholders had been due to vote on a proposal that would see each supervisory board member paid at least €100,000, or around R4.5 million, for the 2018 year – plus extra payments for extra work for some of them.
At the top end of the scale, chairwoman Heather Sonn would have been paid €500,000, which translates to some R7.3 million.
"The supervisory board members who were to receive these additional payments have requested that such matters are not pursued at the coming AGM," Steinhoff said.
But the payments aren't off the table – they just won't be put in front of shareholders. They board believes, Steinhoff said, that the remuneration of the supervisory board should be left to the supervisory board itself.
That board will set up a remuneration committee, which will figure out payments "at an appropriate time in the future."
Steinhoff has strongly defended the planned payments, and continued to do so on Thursday.
Since early December the board had already had 14 full board meetings, rather than the normal four per year, Steinhoff said, plus various other meetings both insider the company and with regulators and shareholders.
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