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In this vein, it comes as no surprise that all executives have seen an increase in their salaries between 2015 and 2016, with Standard Bank and Capitec in particular posting double-digit growth for exec pay.

Taking all executives into account (including all executive directors), South Africa’s big five banks spent a total of R783 million paying 30 people in the sector (R23 million per executive) – including the 6 CEOs.

CEO salaries account for around a third of this however – at R253 million – and averages to R42 million per CEO, a significant increase on R34.3 million in 2015.

The salaries below show the total remuneration received by the respective CEOs in the 2016 financial year, including the reported share values received as indicated in the annual reports.

FirstRand’s report is for the full year ending June 2016, and Capitec’s data is for the full year ending February 2017. Standard Bank, Nedbank and Absa’s data is for the full year ending December 2016.

BankCEO2015 Salary (Rm)2016 Salary (Rm)Change (%)
FirstRand Sizwe Nxasana 59.23 62.45 5.4%
Standard Bank Sim Tshabalala 30.99 44.49 43.6%
Standard Bank Ben Kruger 30.79 44.49 44.5%
Nedbank Mike Brown 36.43 36.78 1.0%
Capitec Gerrie Fourie 20.10 35.60 35.6%
Absa Maria Ramos 28.21 29.51 4.6%
Average   34.29 42.22 23.1%

Includes reported share awards


Sizwe Nxasana was FirstRand CEO in 2015

Salary make up of banking CEOs in 2016

When looking at the basic salaries of each CEO, the picture is slightly different, with Absa CEO, Maria Ramos, being the highest paid by some margin.

As is typical with executive pay, the biggest draw for CEOs comes through short-term and long-term incentive schemes, which pay out cash and share bonuses over a certain period, which often yields massive awards.

These incentive schemes pay out at different times, according to the specific contract with each respective CEO, and the executives are typically given an option to exercise their options, or to defer them to another time.