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Ex-Altech CEO Craig Venter was paid R15 million golden handshake

The former CEO of tech firm Altech was paid R15 million in his final year of employment after quitting JSE-listed Altron – a business started by his father Bill Venter, making his one of the top separation payments in the country’s telecommunications industry and closer to the R23.7 million paid to ex-MTN CEO Sifiso Dabengwa. By Gugu Lourie

Craig Venter has been working for Altron for 27 years and resigned on 31 July 2015.

Altron on Wednesday reported that Craig Venter would receive  a base pay of R2.6 million, a R327 000 defined contribution pension payments, R310 000 integration special bonus, and R3.7 million long-term incentive expense, plus a R15 million separation payment – bringing his 2016 total salary to R22 million.

Altron said in its 2016 Remuneration Report that factors taken into account by the committee when determining Craig Venter’s separation package included, among others, his number of years of service with the Altron group, an equivalent severance package had he been dismissed based on operational requirements and, the need to include appropriate restraints on him competing against the Altron group in future.

It added that although, in line with prevailing practice in South Africa, the committee has the discretion to negotiate separation payments with executives, none of the senior executives of Altron have special termination benefits or balloon payment provisions in their employment contracts.

“Whilst Craig Venter was not subject to a contractual restraint of trade, due to his long service and promotion from within the group, the board deemed it prudent to include such an arrangement in his separation agreement,” the company said in the Remuneration Report.

Altron pay

“The remaining senior executives are subject to a restraint of trade condition prohibiting such individuals from taking employment with competing organisations for a period of 24 months after termination of employment. No additional consideration is paid to these employees in terms of this restraint.”

While Robbie Venter, the CEO of Altron, was paid R13 million in his total package, which includes a R6.9 million base pay, R1.4 million short-term incentive bonuses, R1.4 million defined contribution pension payments and R2.7 million long-term incentive expense.

2016 has been a challenging year for the Altron group. Its revenue from total operations decreased 4% to R26,6 billion with EBITDA from total operations declining 73% to R376 million as the impact of a weak macroeconomic environment and unstable demand particularly impacted on our manufacturing operations.

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