Today's Labour News

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chickensBusiness Times reports that Chris Schutte, CEO of SA's biggest poultry producer, Astral Foods, the remuneration policy of which was recently rejected by shareholders, says too much focus on remuneration is making it harder to hang on to executives who are in high demand around the world.  

"Remuneration policy has become the flavour of almost every AGM. It's not about the strategy of the company, it's not about the growth. More than 50% of the focus is on remuneration policy," he noted.  But, he conceded that the remuneration gap between executives and junior levels "should be closed up a bit".  "Astral has been in that mode for 10 years now. Every year if executives get a general salary hike of 3%-4%, for middle and junior levels it's as high as 10%," Schutte pointed out.  Three times in the past 10 years he has turned down a salary increase for himself.  Other executives offered to do the same but he opposed it:  "They're highly sought after internationally and locally. They almost get approached once a month by opposition companies. I don't want to jeopardise them by not remunerating them in line with market trends."  Astral has just lost a top executive to an overseas company, while six top managers have left in the past three years.  He said it was "a very good thing" if shareholders took an interest in remuneration policies, "as long as it's transparent and it's discussed".  But apparently some shareholders contract the valuation of the policy out to foreign consultants who apply a tick-box approach and "don't have a clue" about local conditions and what executives in SA are up against.  

  • Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Chris Barron at BusinessLive (paywall access only)


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