Critical analysis of executive remuneration and company performance for South African listed companies
Thesis (MBA)--Stellenbosch University, 2014.
ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Executive remuneration in South Africa has continued to attract public outrage and generate much debate among various stakeholders due to the perceived non-alignment of compensation packages awarded to senior executives and company performance. This research examines the relationship between executive compensation and financial performance of South African listed companies. Furthermore, the study investigates the link between executive pay and sustainability performance measures such as environmental, social and governance (ESG) criteria. Almost no research has been done in South Africa to examine the link and integration of ESG performance metrics into executive pay as researchers continue to focus on traditional financial measures of performance such as earnings (EBITDA), earnings per share (EPS), return on equity (ROE), return on assets (ROA), total shareholder return (TSR) and share price. The link between executive compensation and sustainability metrics (ESG) has become a topic of much discussion among academics and investors due to the potential influence of ESG factors on companies’ financial performance and sustainable long-term value creation. The research begins by examining the changes in the level of executive compensation during a five-year period and by testing the relationship between executive pay and traditional financial performance measures. The results show that the total compensation of CEOs has been steadily increasing during the five-year period while variable performance bonuses experienced a slight decline during the economic recession of 2007 to 2008. The results provided evidence that there is a statistically significant positive relationship between executive remuneration and company profitability. Findings for the second objective suggest that while executive compensation plans of many companies have been formally tied to ESG performance metrics, few companies in the study have disclosed effective and robust ESG performance measurement systems that tie executive pay to sustainability performance.