Meet the South African bosses who earn over R600k per day



South Africa's top five biggest mining companies, BHP Billiton, Glencore, Anglo American, Gold Fields, and South32, reported massive CEO salaries in 2023, with some earning triple that of the best-paid banking CEOs. The Minerals Council of South Africa states that the mining sector is an important contributor to the country's economy, contributing R425.6 billion or 6.2% of the GDP. The sector added over 7,500 jobs last year, employing 477,000 people, and total wages increased by 7% to R186.5 billion.

However, the industry faces major headwinds in South Africa, including reduced electricity availability, rail constraints, harbour delays, and a downturn in the prices of coal and platinum group metals (PGMs). PGM sales generated an estimated R199 billion in 2023, a 33.3% decline from the previous year. Major players announced thousands of job cuts in South Africa due to dropping metal prices.

Despite these challenges, the mining industry's overall financial performance and contribution to the economy in 2023 led to massive paydays for relevant CEOs. BHP Billiton's CEO, Mike Henry, earned $13.7 million (R249.5 million) in 2023, which includes base salary, short-term incentives, cash bonuses, benefits, and long-term incentive plans. Gold Fields CEO Martin Preece took home the smallest amount of R51 million, but as of 1 January 2024, Mike Fraser assumed the role of Gold Fields CEO, succeeding Martin Preece as Chief Operating Officer.

Notable pay cuts for all CEOs on this list were also observed due to the preceding economic conditions of 2023.

The table below outlines what these CEOs earned in 2023 and how that translates per day.

#CompanyCEOTotal remunerationAverage per day
1BHP BillitonMike Henry$13.7 million (R249.5 million)R684 650
2GlencoreGary Nagle$5.8 million (R105.7 million)R289 589
3Anglo AmericanDuncan Wanblad£3.6 million (R83.1 million)R227 671
4South32Graham KerrAUS$6.1 million (R74.2 million)R203 288
5Gold FieldsMartin Preece$2.8 million (R51 million)R139 726

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