Steinhoff International paid former Chief Executive Officer Markus Jooste about R5 million ($380 000) for the two months he worked for the South African company in fiscal 2018, before he quit suddenly amid an accounting scandal.
The payment was disclosed in a report published Thursday by Pepkor, a clothing retailer with more than 5 200 stores that was spun off by Steinhoff in 2017. Danie van der Merwe, who took over from Jooste on an acting basis, was paid about R24.3 million for the year through September, including a retention or deferred bonus of R8.3 million.
Steinhoff shares collapsed after disclosing financial irregularities 14 months ago, and the owner of brands such as Conforama in France and Mattress Firm in the US has been selling assets and negotiating with lenders to stay afloat. It’s yet to report audited earnings for fiscal 2017 and 2018, with PwC still working on a report into inflated profits and off-balance-sheet deals.
While Jooste has been the face of the Steinhoff scandal and has been referred by the company to a South African police unit, he told lawmakers in September he wasn’t aware of accounting irregularities under his leadership. He quit because the board disagreed with his plan to find new auditors to sign off on the financials, he said at the time. The ex-CEO was paid R122 million in salary and bonuses in the year through September 2017.
In April, Steinhoff shelved a plan to pay bonuses to the directors striving to rescue the company after pressure from lawmakers.