What Kenya’s top firms pay their CEOs


ceos-imageKenya’s corporate executives used the relative stability of their companies’ performance to significantly grow their compensation in the past financial year, the latest round of reporting by publicly listed firms show.

Executive compensation rose by margins of up to 38 per cent in a single year, mostly reflecting the growth in the profitability of the corporations, save for a few cases where the company bosses went against the grain, adding millions to their compensation even as profits growth in the businesses they lead slowed down or sank into loss making altogether.

The Business Daily’s analysis of executive compensation in the past financial year found that the financial services and telecommunication sectors remain Kenya’s most lucrative in terms of executive compensation.


The list of top-earning executives whose pay the Business Dailywas able to compute from the annual reports includes Housing Finance (HF) managing director Frank Ireri, Pan Africa Holdings’s Tom Gitogo and retail chain Uchumi’s Jonathan Ciano.

The trio has now joined the league big bucks earners who are running blue-chip companies such as Safaricom, KCB, East African Breweries (EABL), Co-operative Bank, Kenya Airways and Britam where total executive pay rose by up to 87 per cent, lifting the pay of CEOs that are lumped with those of senior managers by large margins.

The steep rise in executive compensation in Kenya is seen as partly driven by the scramble for scarce corporate leadership talent in a market where employers continue to decry a dire shortage of skilled staff needed to craft and execute growth strategies.


Companies are also rewarding top executives for growth in profitability, which benefits shareholders in terms of dividend earnings and capital gains for stocks traded on the Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE).

Financial reports show that Mr Gitogo’s monthly pay rose nine per cent to Sh2.5 million in the year ending December 2013, from the Sh2.3 million he earned the year before.

The pay review came as the financial services firm more than doubled its net earnings to Sh1.2 billion, helped by higher investment income and appreciation of its equity portfolio.

Pan Africa’s share price has more than doubled in the past 12 months to trade at Sh120.


At Housing Finance, the monthly remuneration of Mr Ireri jumped 14.5 per cent to Sh4.9 million in the year ending December 2013, up from Sh4.2 million a year earlier.

The mortgage financier recorded a 34 per cent increase in net earnings to Sh995.1 million in the same period, driven by higher interest income and sale of properties.

HF’s share price has appreciated 76 per cent in the past year to trade at Sh44.5.

Mr Ireri has recently joined the club of CEOs with substantial ownership in the firms they lead after he bought 225,000 shares in HF currently worth Sh10 million.


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