JOHANNESBURG ? AngloGold Ashanti chief executive officer (CEO) Srinivasan Venkatakrishnan?on Monday?said he?s giving away a major portion of his salary to contribute to education.

He says he wants to show commitment to the future of the country and industry. As head of the country?s largest gold mining company, Venkatakrishnan earns a R12 million annual basic salary before dividends, shares and other extras. After tax, that?s over R600,000 every month. He says it?s around 20 percent less than his predecessor and that he?s not ashamed of the amount.

?At the end of the day, embarrassment is a state of mind. If I?ve been happy to make this public, I?m certainly not embarrassed.?

Venkatakrishnan has also frozen his salary for next year and says he won?t be taking any bonuses this year. The CEO says this philanthropy is something he?s wanted to do for a while. Part of his contribution to education will be a bursary for five students to study within the field of economics, finance or accounting at the University of the Witwatersrand.

Venkatakrishnan concedes that the debate over high pay for CEOs is a major one in the country, though he doesn?t think he is overpaid. He also says his decision is not in response to pressure on the mining industry to lower executive salaries. Venkatakrishnan says he simply wants to make a difference.??What I do want to do is to use some of that salary to effectively change certain things in the long-term, certainly for the industry and for the country as a whole.?

Old Mutual Investment Group?s Peter Brooke has hailed the move, saying he hopes to see it become a trend. ?I think it?s a great sign of leadership and I think it brings in a very important debate which is, ?what do we do around remuneration and how do we move away from just the headlines of big numbers?.?


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