Departing Hodnett gets to keep Absa shares

Also paid a long service award of a rather bizarre R5 000.
At the current share price, the total number of shares under award held by Hodnett – who left Standard Bank to join Absa in 2008 and has now returned to Standard Bank – is valued at more than R50m. Image: Moneyweb

David Hodnett, who until May 15 last year was deputy chief executive officer of Absa Group, was paid by the bank until the end of his notice period on February 28, 2019.

This is not atypical, neither is the fact that he was required to work a handover period prior to his notice period.

However, Hodnett was also awarded “eligible leaver treatment on all unvested short- and long-term incentive rewards”, which is not always guaranteed when an executive departs – particularly when they resign. He retains all long-term incentives, except for those made under the 2017 restricted share award.

He resigned from the group, with immediate effect, on the day of its annual general meeting (AGM) last year, a departure the bank in its 2018 Remuneration Report now terms a “mutual separation agreement”. 

Under the agreement, he served a handover period until August 31, 2018, during which he had to “be available to the group”. Thereafter, he served a notice period, as “gardening leave”, until February 28, 2019. During this time, he received fixed remuneration, likely at the same level he had been at until his resignation in 2018. This comprises both cost-to-company and role-based pay.

Until May 15, 2018, Hodnett was paid fixed remuneration of R6.376 million. This included a leave payout of R1.88 million in April 2018. He (obviously) did not receive any short-term incentives during 2018 and was not eligible for any long-term awards in the year.





R2 481 271

R6 656 796

Medical aid

R55 658

R136 980


R66 993

R175 000

Other employee benefits

R1 904 475

R40 536

Role-based pay

R1 868 280

R5 000 000

Total fixed remuneration

R6 376 677

R12 009 312

Based on the pro-rata amounts (salary and role-based pay), it is likely that Hodnett received in excess of R4 million in fixed remuneration during his notice period (gardening leave). The payment of role-based pay during a notice period or gardening leave was discontinued in October 2018. This excludes his pay during the handover to end-August. Hodnett was also paid accrued leave up to February 28.

Under the “eligible leaver treatment” on long-term incentives, the shares awarded to him “remain subject to the rules of the respective plans until their normal vesting date, including provisions as to malus and clawback. Long-term incentive awards and restricted shares will be subject to the outcomes of the relevant performance conditions”.

His total number of shares under award is 307 731. At the current share price (around R164), this is valued at R50.5 million.


Number of shares under award at December 31

Last scheduled 2018 vesting date

Share Value Plan 2015 – 2017

14 274

Sep 1, 2018

Share Value Plan 2016 – 2018

35 624

Sep 1, 2019

Share Value Plan 2017 – 2019

27 547

Sept 1, 2022

Share Value Plan 2018 – 2020

22 062

Sep 1, 2023

Non-deferred share award 2018

14 708

March 1, 2019

Restricted award –

Share Value Plan 2016

48 379

March 30, 2022

Restricted award –

Share Value Plan 2017

Will lapse in 2019
(not part of separation agreement)

Long-term incentive award 2017

145 137

July 31, 2020

In January 2018 Hodnett received a long service award (for 10 years’ at the bank) of a rather bizarre R5 000. In the (terse) announcement of his resignation, Absa thanked him for his “extensive contribution”, “including as chief risk officer and financial director, and most recently as head of the South Africa banking portfolio”.

During an executive reorganisation in early 2018, Hodnett was offered the job of CEO of the group’s corporate and investment banking unit. He would have surely seen this as a demotion and turned it down. With no obvious future role, he took a two-month sabbatical in April before announcing his resignation halfway through.

Hodnett joined Standard Bank Group as chief risk officer with effect from yesterday (May 1). His appointment was announced in March and he served as chief risk officer designate from March 25. He replaces Neil Surgey who had been at the bank for 17 years. Prior to joining Absa in 2008, Hodnett had been at Standard Bank.

Details of the remuneration and outstanding share awards of departing CEO Maria Ramos, who left the group on February 28, will be published in the group’s integrated report next April.

Hilton Tarrant works at YFM. He can still be contacted at

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One thing that puts me off particularly banks is that executives never put their own money down to buy shares in the banks that they manage. They receive upside without really being shareholders. No skin in the game. They expect the company to buy them shares to align their interests with that of the bank. If you and your team deserves that kind of remuneration, they have to be a team of superheros’. Why don’t you use some of your remuneration to buy shares in a bank that is managed by superheros’? I bet you, that a bank can find a person equally competent to work for 25% of his remuneration. But hey………. Talent and retention of key personnel are overrated in this sector. His total pay excluding share incentives is R46k a day.

Any company that requires the employees to buy shares in the company will lose employees to companies that don’t.

Sure???? Why can Jannie Mouton, Christoff Wiese, Riaan Du Plessis buy shares in their own companies. Look at industrials. Bankers to fancy and “clever”.

Agreed, there are enough talented people who would work for half the salary.
So would many of these execs, PROVIDED their counterparts did too.
I reckon it is an ego thing as much as a money thing!

Come on shareholders – vote against such salaries, and don’t vote for directors who support such salaries

Not sure the purpose of this article but if it is merely to highlight the excruciating and unjustified salaries that these business people earn then it has some merit. It’s about time shareholders started taking a stand against these ridiculous packages that CEO’s and their henchmen get in companies

Indeed, I can understand a couple of million in pay, but R50m+ is too much. That money should have been paid out to investors as dividends or reinvested in the business.

Perhaps more bizarre is that ABSA have subsidised Standard Bank Group to the tune of R50.5m. Either someone at ABSA dropped the ball when applying fair leaver treatment or the fair leaver treatment at ABSA is too loose.

I often wonder if these highly paid people could ever start and run a business of their own????

Pay all your medical, pension, retirement and saving contributions. Navigate through the hard times, hire and train people yourself.

You may earn a hell of a lot of money but before you have started and run your own business you are not very much in my book, just a lifer with a big corporation that always got increases and was looked after.

So it seems that it’s not just the ANC that are looting and pillaging the country. This is just another example of unmitigated and unjustified greed – and you don’t have to just look here – look at the remuneration packages of so many directors; and wait for Maria’s!!!
Until we have a system of taxation that does not tax the poor (tax starts at R79 000 per annum! – try living on that) and seriously taxes the very high earners, we risk / are creating a society where inequality is so great that the really deprived see no alternative but to rise up against the system. Why do you think the EFF have so much support?

Agree fully.

Sars must relook at the tax bands to tax these fats cats and provide relief to the poor. This can be achieved by increasing the primary rebate to R21 600(R120K x 18%)as this would exempt taxable income (TI) for those earning up to R120K p.m. and the shortfall by in introducing two or more marginal tax bands, say

48% for TI above R2,0 Mio
50% for TI above R3,0 Mio
52% for TI above R4,0 Mio

this would offset any tax shortfall and provide relief for the really needy. And it would serve as a wealth tax too …

most of these shares vest later on, with most in 2020, can someone explain why is he allowed to get allowed before the vesting date?

6th last paragraph: Under the “eligible leaver treatment” on long-term incentives, the shares awarded to him “remain subject to the rules of the respective plans until their normal vesting date, including provisions as to malus and clawback. Long-term incentive awards and restricted shares will be subject to the outcomes of the relevant performance conditions”.

Seems like very one sided commentary here…

Corporations are cut throat and the ladder demands everything from you, to make it to the top takes exceptional dedication and sacrifice. If you have traded your whole life, and sacrificed so much to the system (think missed kids birthdays, sacrifice of family time) you deserve to earn alot. If you have never been close to a high performance corporate exec you will never understand 24/7 work they put in. They earn their money, stop being jealous…

End of comments.





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