Former Altech CEO and Altron TMT group executive Craig Venter was given a R15m “separation payment” when he left the technology group last year, despite poor performance by several of the businesses that reported into him, including the failed Altech Node set-top box project.
Alton revealed in its 2016 annual report, published on Wednesday, that it paid Venter — the son of the group’s founder, Bill Venter — a total package of R21,9m for the five months he worked of the financial year up to 31 July 2015.
The R21,9m was made up of the R15m separation payment plus R2,6m in base pay and R327 000 in pension contributions. Venter also received a “special integration bonus” of R310 000 and R3,7m in long-term incentives.
Venter quit Altron last year after 27 years of service to the group. At the time of his resignation, Altron described the decision as the start of its transition to an “independent management structure”.
“I have dedicated my life to this business and I will remain involved in the business as part of the Venter family, to ensure the continued success of my father’s legacy. My experience, relationships and guidance will not be lost to the group,” he said in a statement at the time of his exit.
Venter left a decidedly mixed legacy at Altech.
He led an aborted telecommunications investment strategy in East Africa that cost the Altron group dearly.
More recently, the launch of the Altech Node — a home entertainment and automation set-top box — proved to be a flop after the group invested tens of millions of rand in its development.
IT group Bytes has performed well, but Altech UEC — the set-top box manufacturing business — has incurred heavy losses.
Altron’s annual report reveals that Venter’s brother, Robbie, who leads the group as CEO, was paid a total package in 2016 of R12,7m, R7m of which was base pay, with most of the rest made up of short-term and long-term incentive payments.
For his services as chairman of the board, Bill Venter was paid R3,4m, unchanged from the previous financial year.
For the 2016 financial year, Altron reported a normalised diluted headline loss per share for the 2016 financial year to 29 February of 75c, a sharp reversal from headline earnings per share in 2015 of 99c.
In light of the poor numbers, and the need to reduce debt on its balance sheet, Altron elected not to pay shareholders a full-year dividend. — (c) 2016 NewsCentral Media
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