Executive Remuneration in South Africa: Key Issues Highlighted by Shareholder Activists

  • Suzette Viviers Stellenbosch University
Keywords: Executive remuneration, Institutional investors, Individual investors, Shareholder activism, Theo Botha, Wage gap, Proxy voting, South Africa


The growing wage gap in South Africa has far-reaching socio-economic consequences. This study investigated the nature of executive remuneration issues raised by shareholder activists in the country. An analysis of 24 510 votes cast by 17 investment managers at 347 companies listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange in 2013 revealed that the vote to endorse companies’ executive remuneration policies evoked the most opposition. Well-known shareholder activist, Theo Botha also criticized companies for failing to disclose sufficient details on their remuneration policies. A disconnect between the performance of companies and their executives’ pay was also noted. It is recommended that the non-binding vote on executive remuneration be revised and more investor education provided. The growing wage gap in South Africa has far-reaching socio-economic consequences. This study investigated the nature of executive remuneration issues raised by shareholder activists in the country. An analysis of 24 510 votes cast by 17 investment managers at 347 companies listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange in 2013 revealed that the vote to endorse companies’ executive remuneration policies evoked the most opposition. Well-known shareholder activist, Theo Botha also criticized companies for failing to disclose sufficient details on their remuneration policies. A disconnect between the performance of companies and their executives’ pay was also noted. It is recommended that the non-binding vote on executive remuneration be revised and more investor education provided. 

Author Biography

Suzette Viviers, Stellenbosch University
Professor: Investment Management, Financial ManagementProfessor: Investment Management, Financial Management


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