The South African Reserve Bank (Sarb) Governor’s candour on economic matters might have cost her friends in inward-looking chief executive circles. Her recent move to forgo a salary hike, no doubt, has further alienated her from ‘greedy’ peers, who defiantly spoil themselves to gratuitous and stratospheric annual increases.
According to the Sarb annual report, Gill Marcus earned a 0.4% pay rise this year. Considering that the current rate of inflation is at 6.6%, with her salary at R5.007m, her pay cut is quite significant. The decision has been praised as an indication that she actually practices what she preaches.
Commentators are not surprised at the governor’s decision. In recent years Marcus has chastised pay hikes that senior executives undeservedly get, pointing out that they fuel labour unrest. She has observed that they drive unions to demand wages that are way above inflation.
Recently Marcus told a gathering of financial professionals: “How sustainable are you if you’re not going to be able to keep your workforce because you earn so much? Nobody is saying you’re going to be poor.”