Wonderful! What Nigeria corporate CEOs earn as annual package


A report by Proshare has revealed the full pay package of the Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) of top 10 leading companies in Nigeria, with the Group Managing Director of Access Corporation, Mr. Herbert Wigwe as the highest earner.

The 2022 edition of the CEO Remuneration, titled: “CEOs in a Post Covid Era – What Matters Most,” showed that Wigwe was closely followed on the ranking by Roger Brown of Seplat, Olusegun Ogunsanya of Airtel Africa, Michel Purcheros of Dangote Cement, and Folasope Aiyesimoju of UAC, in that order.

The top five CEOs had an average total remuneration of N773.39 million, but only Wigwe earned above the average, it stated.

Furthermore, it revealed that the average compensation of the five CEOs saw a significant decline in comparison to previous year’s average of N881.79 million.


Wigwe, the current CEO of Access Corporation as indicated in the bank’s 2021 annual financial statement, assumed the position of CEO of Access Bank in January 2014, had direct and indirect shares amounting to 1,517,850,729 at a dividend per share (DPS) of N1.00k. According to the report, the 25 per cent increase in DPS from N0.80k in 2020 to N1.00k in 2021 in addition to a base salary of N120 million took his total compensation to N1.64 billion.

Wigwe experienced a 23.31 per cent year-on-year increase in total compensation from N1.33 billion earned in 2021, the report added.


Brown became CEO of Seplat Energy in June 2020, replacing Austin Avuru, who had earned a total of N2.90 billion in total compensation in 2020. The Proshare report revealed that in contrast, Roger Brown earned a total compensation of N609 million for the financial year of 2021. Brown, however, had a 65.06 per cent increase in earnings from N369.5 million in 2020, when he made his first-time entry into the list of highest remunerated CEOs. “The 15.82 per cent increase in dividends earned from N116.51 million in 2020, to N134.94 million in 2021 led to a shift in position from the tenth to the second-highest paid CEO based on total compensation,” the report added.


Following the retirement of Ragutha Mandava, Ogunsanya assumed the position of CEO and was appointed to the board in October 2021. The Airtel Africa’s CEO was ranked third highest paid CEO in total compensation in Nigeria with N590.73 million, consisting of N391.5 million in benefits earned and N199.23 million in base salary. According to the report, the average salary paid as total remuneration to the CEO of Airtel Africa for periods of 2018 to 2020 was N1,238.6 billion, with a dip in earnings in 2020 by 5.58 per cent.


Onyeagwu’s base salary increased by 6.96 per cent while his total compensation increased by 21.16 per cent between 2020 and 2021, the report revealed, adding that the increase in total compensation was a result of the increase in shares owned from 46.5 kobo to about 65 kobo and dividend per share from N3 kobo to N3.10 kobo. Thus, his dividend income increased by 44.58 per cent from N139.5 million in 2020, to N201.69 million in 2021, leading to an overall increase in total remuneration.

“This moved the Zenith bank boss to the sixth highest earning CEO from the ninth position in 2020. There has been a consistent rise in the remuneration of the CEO in the last three consecutive periods; rising by 71.86 per cent between 2018 and 2020,” it added.


Richter was appointed Director and Managing Director of Julius Berger with effect from October 16, 2018, replacing Engr. Wolfgang Goetsch. The total remuneration disbursed by Julius Berger to Ritcher amounted to N408.91 million void of shares owned, hence no dividend income. He was ranked the seventh on the top 10 highest paid CEOs based on total compensation, a significant improvement having missed the list in previous year’s ranking. However, there was a dip in total compensation earned by the CEOs in the construction giant by 31.91 per cent between 2018 and 2019, and then a 29.14 per cent increase in earnings between 2020 and 2022.


Purhercos of Dangote Cement is the CEO with the highest base salary at N531 million. However, the report showed that he ranked fourth highest-paid CEO in total compensation. “Interestingly, Purchercos has no record of share ownership and received no benefit for the year 2021. He ranked seventh highest CEO as of 2020 but an increase in his base salary lifted his ranking in 2021. “The Dangote Cement boss experienced an 18.53% Y-o-Y increase in total compensation from N448 million in 2020 to N531 million in 2021,” it added.


Aiyesimoju, who was appointed CEO of UAC Nigeria Plc in April 2019, earned a total remuneration of N497.42 million, placing him as the fifth highest paid CEO in total compensation in Nigeria for the year 2021, the report showed. This was a position he maintained from previous year’s ranking. The UAC boss earned N401.44 million in dividends, a 19.71 per cent increase from N315.32 million he earned in 2020, in addition to a base salary of 95.987 million, the Proshare report stated. However, there was a restatement of earnings as regards the base salary paid to the CEO in 2020.

Nonetheless, there has been a steady rise in his compensation. “Aiyesimoju had 82.05 per cent Y-o-Y increase in total compensation from N273.23 million in 2018 to 497.42 million in 2021,” the report added.


Khalid Dokani became the CEO of Lafarge Africa in January 2020, taking over from Michel Purchercos who ranked fourth on base salary and seventh on highest paid CEO in total compensation. With no shares owned, Khaled Dokani received a bonus of N102.82 million in addition to a base salary of N288.61 million, thus his total compensation for the 2021 financial year amounted to N391.43 million. “There has been a steady rise in the total compensation of Lafarge CEOs. The cement company recorded a cumulative growth of 25.32 per cent in total compensation from N312.33 million in 2018 to N391.43 million in 2021, albeit there was a dip of 9.59 per cent between 2018 and 2019,” the report added.


Karl Toriola, the ninth highest paid CEO based on total compensation, earned a total compensation of N368 million in financial year 2021, a 35.07 per cent decline from the amount earned by the previous CEO. The decline was mainly due to the absence of shares ownership and bonus/benefits earned by Toriola. The total compensation of CEOs of MTN had been steady for the last three years with an all-time high of N585.94 million in 2019, when there was an increase of 2.62 per cent from N571 million earned in 2018.


Binju who became the CEO of BUA in September 2018, with prior experience in the industrial sector earned a total compensation of N320 million, ranking tenth highest paid CEO in total compensation for the year 2021. The cement company CEO owned 827,093 shares in BUA, a massive leap from the 7,093 shares owned in 2020, causing a massive spurt in earnings. The CEO recorded 324.94 per cent increase in total compensation from N75.31 million in 2020 to N320 million in 2021. “There has also been a steady rise in earnings between 2018 and 2020, increasing by 2.68 per cent between 2018 and 2019 and 9.08 per cent between 2020 and 2019,” it added.


Nevertheless, in terms of basic salary, for the financial year 2021, top five highly remunerated CEOs were from Dangote Cement, Seplat energy, Julius Berger Nigeria, MTN, and Dangote sugar refinery, in that order. This was particularly interesting as GTCO (formerly GTB), and Airtel Africa, which ranked fourth and sixth in previous edition’s ranking, were displaced from the list while by Dangote sugar and Lafarge Africa emerged on the list.

According to the report, the bottom five on the top 10 earning CEOs list saw the likes of Lafarge Africa, Zenith Bank Plc, Nigerian Breweries, Guinness Nigeria, and Unilever Nigeria Plc. “Interestingly, we see that the top 3 earners Michel Purcheros (N531 million) of Dangote cement, Roger Brown (475 million) of Seplat energy, and Lars Ritcher (N408.91 million) of Lafarge earned a combined N1.414 billion.

“This represents a 5.37 per cent decline from the combined earnings of top three earners in the previous ranking at N1.49 billion. The combined earnings of the top three exceeds the amount earned by the bottom five who jointly earned N1.25 billion by 162.64 million, a 53.43 per cent increase from earlier year’s gap of N106 million,” it added


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