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Costly mistake: Digit error places wrong person on rich list

Dec 12 2016 12:47
Matthew le Cordeur

Cape Town – A slip of the digit resulted in former Famous Brands CEO Kevin Hedderwick being placed as South Africa’s 11th highest earner on the Business Times Rich List that was published on Sunday.

As it turns out, Hedderwick should not be on the list at all. He is currently group Strategic Advisor at Famous Brands.

According to the list, Hedderwick brought home a whopping R45.991m in 2015, beating a host of South Africa’s leading chief executives of pharmaceutical, petroleum and retail companies.

However, Famous Brands said in a statement on Monday this “figure should in fact be R4.591m, as reflected in the group's annual financial statements published on 19 June 2015.”

The figure disparity clearly shows a digit was placed one digit to the right.

The Famous Brands 2016 financial results show that Hedderwick made a total of R8.358m, which included the R5.023m remuneration, R2.899m in bonuses and R436 000 in allowances and benefits.

Even at this rate, Hedderwick would not have made the cut for the top 100 top earnings. The 100th position went to Yunis Shaik, who earned a total of R14.794m.

“This error has caused Mr Hedderwick significant distress and embarrassment and reflects negatively on the remuneration policies and practices of the group,” the company said.

“Given the potentially damaging impact of this error on the group's reputation, the board would like to advise stakeholders that a letter has been submitted to the editor of the Business Times requesting the publication to issue an apology and correction in this regard.”

The Rich List is compiled for Business Times by Who Owns Whom. “We are investigating the matter and are obligated to release our comment via the Sunday Times,” Who Owns Whom MD Andrew McGregor told Fin24 on Monday.

Business Times editor Ron Derby told Fin24 on Monday that the error had been corrected online.

On the Rich List page, Business Times apologised for the error.

"In a previous version of the below table, Who Owns Whom incorrectly stated that Kevin Hedderwick's salary for the 2015 financial year amounted to R45.991m.

"In fact, his fixed remuneration for that year was R4.591m," it said. "The error occurred as a result of a data capturing fault which wasn’t picked up by quality control. 

"Who Owns Whom endeavours to provide the highest quality of research and we greatly regret this error and any embarrassment caused as a result."

Famous Brands dominates the fast food and restaurant industry in South Africa, and owns brands such as Wimpy, Mugg & Bean, Tashas, Steers, Debonairs and Milky Lane.

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