On Thursday, April 4, 2013, BusinessDay Research finally unveiled its list of Nigeria’s 25 best-performing CEOs for 2012. The criterion used for the selection was simple and straightforward. The share price performance of listed companies on the Nigerian Stock Exchange in 2012 was used as the basis for selection of the CEOs.
Share price performance was used as a basis for selecting the CEOs because investors buy the shares of companies mainly for two reasons: capital appreciation and dividend income. Capital appreciation is considered more important for most investors as some companies would rather reinvest profits than pay it as dividend income to shareholders. A popular company that has continuously reinvested its income over the years is Apple, makers of iPhone and the Mac Computers.
Share price direction is chiefly influenced by corporate decision which is driven mainly by the CEO, in a normal situation. In an abnormal situation, share price of companies could be driven by other external circumstances not related to corporate performance. A good example is during the 2007 stock market bubble when some banks were said to have given money to some crooked stockbrokers to buy their banks’ shares in a bid to artificially push up the share prices of such banks, especially ahead of public offerings.
There are also situations that the CEO may take short-term decision to deliberately push up his company’s share price, especially when the CEO knows that he is going to be judged by the performance of the company’s shares. However, a CEO that does this is easily found out in the long run as the shares will eventually plummet. Besides, the board of a company is there to ensure that the CEO does not take short-term decisions to the detriment of the long-term survival of the company.
In the long run, the share price performance of a listed company remains the best judge of a CEO’s performance. The share price embodies investors’ judgment of the CEO’s leadership and investment decisions. Share price appreciates usually when investors believe the CEO is making the right investment decisions that will increase the profitability of the company. Share price falls when investors do not believe in the CEO or in his investment decisions.
US-based Wall Street Journal recently reported the result of a survey it did of over 300 companies in the US with annual revenues in excess of $6.7 billion. The survey showed that 51 CEOs had at least half of their compensation tied to their companies’ financial or stock market performance. This is gradually becoming the trend in developed markets as increasingly shareholders have a say in CEO compensation. It is no longer taken as normal for CEO to earn all his compensation when shareholders are bleeding because the company’s share price is on a free fall due to poor management decisions by the CEO.
The BusinessDay Research’s top 25 best-performing CEOs report is not an endorsement of the performance of the CEOs highlighted. The report is, however, meant to identify the CEOs behind exceptional share price performance on the Nigerian stock market. The first report has just done that. The next report (to be published 2014) may slightly modify our criteria to include earnings growth and returns on equity and assets to better capture CEOs’ performance.
The list of the CEOs and the companies that made our cut are Michael Hugh Thomson – Paints and Coatings Manufacturers Plc (277 percent); Carlos Alberto Gomes – International Breweries Plc (184 percent); Emil Moskofian – Cadbury Nigeria Plc (154 percent); Alex Otti – Diamond Bank Plc (146 percent); Ade Adeniji – National Salt Company of Nigeria (NASCON) (97 percent); Chidi Okoro – Glaxosmithkline Plc (96 percent); Uday Pilani – Presco (96 percent); Omolara Elemide – CAP Plc (93 percent); Richard Akerele – Airline Services and Logistics Plc (93 percent); Modupe Asanmo – Livestock Feeds Plc (92 percent); Obinna Ufudo – Transcorp Plc (88 percent); Graham Hefer – Okomu Oil Palm (84 percent); Access Bank Nigeria Plc (80 percent); Stephen Olabisi Onasanya – First Bank Nigeria Plc (77 percent); Phillips Oduoza – UBA Plc (75 percent); Sterling Bank Plc (71 percent); Martin Woolnough – Nestle Nigeria Plc (65 percent); Segun Agbaje – GTBank (63 percent); Thabo Mabe – Unilever Plc (60 percent); Reginald Ihejiahi – Fidelity Bank Nigeria Plc (60 percent); Godwin Emefiele – Zenith Bank Plc (58 percent); Ekanem Etim – Dangote Flour Mills Plc (57 percent); Nicolaas Vervelde – Nigerian Breweries Plc (55 percent).
Cumulatively, the 25 companies made their shareholders N1.81 trillion richer in 2012. The gain in market value of the 25 companies accounted for 74 percent of the N2.44 trillion gain in the market in 2012.
BusinessDay Research intends to make the publication of Nigeria’s top 25 best-performing CEOs an annual publication. For readers who missed the Thursday publication, an online edition will be available soon for download on BusinessDay website. The online edition has the full profile of all the 25 CEOs, the nature of business of each of the companies, the significant business decisions that may have impacted on the companies’ share price in 2012, and finally Sterling Capital’s financial analyst comments on each of the companies and their price outlook for 2012. It is a must read.
NOTE: If you want analysis or data on any company or any particular sector of the Nigerian economy or industry or have any other queries that BusinessDay Research Unit can help you with, kindly send a mail to [email protected]/en or call 08185193932. We can also help you with your confidential market surveys and competition analysis at a cost.
Editor, BusinessDay Research Unit
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