South Africa has produced world-class IT and telecommunications companies, including MTN, Vodacom, Dimension Data, Naspers, and Altron.
These companies have, in turn, produced world-renowned executives like Alan Knott-Craig, Pieter Uys, Jeremy Ord, Bill Venter, and Koos Bekker.
These top executives helped their companies to show strong growth which benefitted South Africa through thousands of jobs, billions in tax revenue, and foreign direct investments.
Their ability to perform well in the tough South African economic environment, with a lot of uncertainty, makes them desirable across the world.
Former Checkers CEO Whitey Basson, for example, was approached by three major international companies which offered him double and even triple his salary to jump ship.
He said it is challenging to keep top executives in the country who can grow the industry and ensure the country has a brighter future.
It is not surprising that South Africa has lost many top ICT executives to global firms which offered them higher salaries, a safer environment, and more job security.
Local tech and telecoms CEOs
To illustrate Basson’s point, it is instructional to look at South Africa’s top telecommunications executives.
South Africa is home to two of the world’s largest mobile operators, Vodacom and MTN, which produce some of the world’s best mobile telecoms executives.
Vodacom and MTN’s executives can easily move to another country, which many of them have already done.
Former MTN and Vodacom executives Lambo Kanagaratnam and Deon Liebenberg moved to Optus in Australia, and former MTN SA CTO Eben Albertyn is now at Vodafone Netherlands.
In fact, both Vodacom and MTN’s current CEOs spent time in Europe before they returned to South Africa.
Rob Shuter was the CEO for Vodafone’s Europe Cluster before he was head-hunted to serve as MTN CEO.
Shameel Joosub, in turn, was the CEO of Vodafone Spain before he returned to South Africa to run Vodacom.
With many international options available to them, it is challenging to keep top ICT executives in South Africa.
Competitive salaries are a good starting point. Although local executive salaries are not always on par with those in the United States or Europe, local execs are still well paid.
With the lower living costs, good weather, and a good overall quality of life, many top executives are happy to make South Africa their home.
Best paid South African ICT executives
The table below provides an overview of the best paid IT and telecommunications executives over the past year.
|Ralph Mupita||CFO||MTN||R66.3 million|
|Rob Shuter||CEO||MTN||R58.2 million|
|Shameel Joosub||CEO||Vodacom||R43.4 million|
|Till Streichert||CFO||Vodacom||R26.6 million|
|Imtiaz Patel||Chairman||MultiChoice||R25.8 million|
|Calvo Mawela||CEO||MultiChoice||R21.7 million|
|Stephen van Coller||CEO||EOH||R19.0 million|
|Godfrey Motsa||CEO||MTN SA||R15.7 million|
|Mteto Nyati||CEO||Altron||R14.4 million|
|Mark Levy||CEO||Blue Label||R14.3 million|
|Brett Levy||CEO||Blue Label||R14.3 million|
|Cedric Miller||CFO||Altron||R13.0 million|
|Alan Dickson||CEO||Reunert||R9.2 million|
|Tim Jacobs||CFO||MultiChoice||R8.2 million|
|Nick Thomson||CFO||Reunert||R7.0 million|
|Mark Taylor||Executive Director||Reunert||R5.5 million|
|Sbu Shabalala||CEO||Adapt IT||R4.8 million|
|Tiffany Dunsdon||CFO||Adapt IT||R3.7 million|