Mike Brown’s juicy salary for 14 years as Nedbank CEO

Over Mike Brown’s 14-year tenure as Nedbank CEO, he received R477 million in salaries, bonuses, and long-term incentives – almost R100,000 a day.

Brown will step down as Nedbank CEO on 31 May 2024 after 14 years in the position. He is South Africa’s longest-serving banking CEO.

The CEO attributes his successful career to hard work and good luck.

After performing well in school, he went to the University of Natal to become a chartered accountant (CA).

Only during his three years as an article clerk at Deloitte was he put on a team that audited – amongst other companies – banks.

Brown was immediately drawn to the complex, fast-growing, and ever-changing nature of financial services. 

When the three years were up, Brown followed in his family’s footsteps and joined the Natal Building Society (NBS) – a small Durban bank that was among the companies Brown audited during his time at Deloitte.

He joined NBS in 1993 and has not left the company since. NBS later merged with Boland Bank to become NBS Boland, which then merged with the Bank of England (BoE).

Finally, in 2004, the group was acquired by Nedbank and fully integrated into the organisation. The same year, Brown took over as the bank’s chief financial officer (CFO).

Only a few years later, in 2010, Brown was appointed Nedbank CEO – a position he holds to this day.

The bank credits him with turning it into a digital banking powerhouse, which created significant value for shareholders.

Under Brown’s leadership, the bank navigated an ever-increasing complex and uncertain operating environment.

This includes steering Nedbank through various domestic and internationally induced crises, the most recent being the Covid-19 pandemic, ensuring that the company emerged stronger, the chairperson Daniel Mminele said.

The bank announced the search for a new CEO in June 2023 before finding his replacement later that year in November – Absa’s financial director Jason Quinn.

“I leave behind a Nedbank that is stronger, more competitive, more agile, and more digital than when I was first appointed as CE, and I know Jason will continue to build on these foundations to make Nedbank an even better bank than it is today,” Brown said.

Brown’s remuneration

BusinessTech calculated that, over his 14-year tenure, Brown earned just over R477,218,000 or R93,400 a day.

This included a base salary, short-term incentives (STI), long-term incentives (LTI), a pension, and other benefits.

Brown’s awarded remuneration for 2023 increased by 6.3% compared to a 176.4% increase in the total single-figure remuneration.

This increase in single-figure remuneration can be attributed, in the main, to the following:

  • Share price appreciation of 67% from award in 2021 to the end of 2023.
  • An overall vesting outcome on the 2021 LTI award of 124.8%, compared with 0% in 2022.
  • A 100% MSS match, compared with 0% in 2022.

For 2023, his base salary was R10.1 million, with a bonus of R18.27 million (cash and shares) and a R53.3 million single-figure LTI concluded on 31 December 2023.

Considering Brown will still stay on after 31 May in an advisory role until August, the bank noted that his base salary would accordingly be reduced by 25% from 31 May 2024.

He will be eligible for a pro-rated STI award in March 2025, considering the partial period of employment in the 2024 financial year. He will not be eligible for an LTI award in March 2025.

Brown will be eligible for good-leaver status in respect of previously awarded, but unvested, LTI and STI awards that will continue to vest over their remaining life.

Brown has agreed to sign a restraint of trade agreement, which will be effective until 31 May 2026, in return for which an LTI award at 50% of his 2024 March annual award will be made in August 2024.

The table below shows Brown’s compensation over his 14-year tenure.

YearTotal Compensation
Source: BusinessTech