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When Ton Vosloo tapped Koos Bekker to take over as CEO of Naspers in 1996, Bekker said he would take no salary, no benefits and had a contract that would allow him to be dismissed without a golden handshake if he did not deliver. But he wanted to be paid in shares. Vosloo generously gave Bekker a big bundle of shares. Exactly how many is not known for the first five-year contract, because it was not then a JSE requirement to divulge it. But in his second five-year contract, he received 11.6-million shares, about 3% of the company. If he had sold this second lot as they were released, Bekker would have profited by as much as R1bn a year. At today’s value, that 3% would be worth more than R30bn, and he had three five-year contracts as CEO before he became chairman, each position coming with a bundle of shares. In a country in which executives of some major companies are remunerated disproportionately, Bekker is in a league of his own. When he chose his successor, he needed to show som...

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