Sibanye-Stillwater CEO Neal Froneman.
Sibanye-Stillwater shareholders holding almost half of the company’s shares have demonstrated their dissatisfaction with the generous pay packages dished out to the mining company’s executives, including a R190 million payday for its CEO, Neal Froneman.
At the company’s AGM on Friday, shareholders holding 47.92% of company stock voted down Sibanye’s remuneration implementation report while 52.71% voted in favour of it.
When shareholders holding more than 25% of shares vote against such a non-binding advisory vote, companies are required by the JSE listing requirements – in line with the King Code on corporate governance – to engage with shareholders over their concerns.
This was the case last year too when just over 26% of shareholders voted against executive pay packages, which included Froneman’s jaw-dropping R300 million remuneration package.
Sibanye’s head of investor relations and corporate affairs, James Wellsted, said the remuneration questions posed by shareholders at Friday’s AGM sought to understand how the remuneration works.
“But there were one or two questions about – in the instance where we’ve had fatalities or safety incidences – how do we still justify paying incentives?” he said.
The company recorded five fatalities in 2022, compared with 21 in 2021. Lost time due to injuries declined from 951 to 668.
“But we see the improvement over time,” said Wellsted. “It also has to be acknowledged that we are on a journey, we are not at the end destination. But you can’t keep penalising people all the time, especially when they’re making improvements.”
Wellsted said it was imperative to acknowledge that remuneration in the mining industry needed to be competitive on a global scale to attract and retain skills.
Following last year’s AGM, Wellsted said Sibanye had met with main shareholders to engage them on their concerns, and this resulted in the board making amendments to the remuneration policy.
“But there’s still some pushback, so we’ll go on the road again and try and engage and get some sort of agreement,” he said.
At this week’s AGM for Gold Fields – another JSE-listed miner – 35% of shareholders voted down the company’s remuneration implementation report which included details of a $3 million golden handshake for its former CEO, Chris Griffith.
At under R35 a share, Sibanye’s stock was flat in Friday’s trade but is 21% lower in the year to date.
Discussion about this post