Rob Rose Editor: Financial Mail

British American Tobacco (BAT), the world’s largest global tobacco company and one of the least accountable companies listed on the JSE Securities Exchange, got a justifiable snotklap at its AGM last week in London. It was a predictable turn of events, given how badly BAT has disappointed investors in recent times. Over the past year, its share price has fallen 29.1% on the JSE — in part because cigarettes have become about as socially desirable as Atul Gupta pitching up at a Save SA rally. Shareholders clearly aren’t impressed. Which is probably why a quarter of them voted against BAT’s remuneration policy, which led to CEO Nicandro Durante taking home £11.4m (a staggering R193m) and finance director Ben Stevens scoring £6.6m (R112m) last year. The 37% rise in Durante’s pay is something of a slap in the face, considering shareholders have seen their wealth diminish by nearly a third. Its UK staff only got a 3% increase, so Durante is making out like a bandit. Institutional Sharehol...

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