Despite posting record profit and sales this year, luxury goods group Richemont executive chairman and CEO Johann Rupert took home a smaller salary and, once again, promptly gave it away.
While disquiet grows around the globe about excessive executive pay in struggling economies, Mr Rupert’s salaries and benefit payments from Richemont, Remgro, Reinet Investments Manager and Reinet Fund Manager are traditionally donated to charity.
The company declined to name the recipient charities.
Including his salary, share options and post-employment benefits, Mr Rupert took home €3,6-million (R37,8-million) - a drop from last year’s €3,9-million (R39,9-million) - according to Richemont’s annual report released yesterday.
The group, which owns brands such as Montblanc, Piaget and Cartier, grew operating profit by 51% in the year ending March.
But the highest-paid executive at Richemont was not Mr Rupert - deputy CEO Richard Lepeu took home €8,2-million (R86,2-million).
Rhoda Kadalie, executive director of Impumelelo, which rewards excellence in the public sector, said although such charity was always a good thing, the giving needed to be focused.
"One cannot just throw money at a problem. It would make a difference to SA if big companies set aside money in a fund to address a structural problem ," she said yesterday.
"The government, NGOs, corporate SA and philanthropists need to sit down together to find organisations that make a difference and fund them. We do not have to reinvent the wheel, there are already projects that are effective, we need to fund those."
Richemont supports the Peace Parks Foundation, which promotes sustainable local economic development in Southern Africa.
In the annual report Mr Rupert acknowledged that raising money for the foundation in recessionary times was tough. "Even so - if they know it’s honest and transparent, that you aren’t using the donations to fund high salaries and administration costs, and that you deliver what you promised them, the money is there. "