Steinhoff paid bad boy CEO Markus Jooste more than R300k a day

EDINBURGH — The wealth gap between top bosses and semi- and unskilled labour in South Africa has been highlighted in revelations about former Steinhoff CEO Markus Jooste‘s pay packet. A Pepkor Holdings report has disclosed that Jooste was paid about R5m in the last two months that he worked for Steinhoff. That works out to about R82,000 a day. A breakdown of his 2017 annual package equates to an income of more than R300,000 a day. Jooste resigned suddenly in connection with allegations of accounting irregularities. But trouble had been brewing behind the scenes for some time, with a fall-out with a former business partner in Europe prising open the cracks to reveal dodgy schemes to make Steinhoff’s aggressive acquisition strategy appear to be appropriate and sustainable. Danie van der Merwe, who took over the reigns from Jooste, was paid a similar daily sum. The revelations will undoubtedly anger many who owned Steinhoff shares directly and indirectly and saw the value of Steinhoff crash as Jooste stepped away from the wreckage. – Jackie Cameron

By Renee Bonorchis and John Bowker

(Bloomberg) – Steinhoff International Holdings NV paid former Chief Executive Officer Markus Jooste about R5m ($380,000) for the two months he worked for the South African company in fiscal 2018, before he quit suddenly amid an accounting scandal.

The payment was disclosed in a report published Thursday by Pepkor Holdings Ltd., a clothing retailer with more than 5,200 stores that was spun off by Steinhoff in 2017. Danie van der Merwe, who took over from Jooste on an acting basis, was paid about R24.3m for the year through September, including a retention or deferred bonus of R8.3m.

Steinhoff shares collapsed after disclosing financial irregularities 14 months ago, and the owner of brands such as Conforama in France and Mattress Firm in the US has been selling assets and negotiating with lenders to stay afloat. It’s yet to report audited earnings for fiscal 2017 and 2018, with PwC still working on a report into inflated profits and off-balance-sheet deals.

While Jooste has been the face of the Steinhoff scandal and has been referred by the company to a South African police unit, he told lawmakers in September he wasn’t aware of accounting irregularities under his leadership. He quit because the board disagreed with his plan to find new auditors to sign off on the financials, he said at the time. The ex-CEO was paid R122m rand in salary and bonuses in the year through September 2017.

In April, Steinhoff shelved a plan to pay bonuses to the directors striving to rescue the company after pressure from lawmakers.