In the 2015 annual report, Sasol chairperson Dr Mandla Gantsho admitted trying to extend CEO David Constable’s five year contract which expires this month. Shareholders should be grateful he wasn’t more persuasive. Together with another Canadian, Anglo’s Cynthia Carroll, Constable ranks as the worst ever CEO appointed by a major South African company.
Soon after arriving in July 2011, the Canadian aborted Sasol’s long and costly flirtation with China, switching attention into his native North America.
In Monday’s trading statement, the company said it will write down billions more on its Montney Shale Gas field, taking the loss on the Canadian investment to a staggering R11.5bn. Worse, the cost of its 40% completeLouisiana chemicals cracker has escalated to $11bn from the $8.9bn shareholders had been told.
If more salt were needed for those wounds, it is sure to come in the remuneration section of Sasol’s 2016 annual report. Given the way these things are structured, Constable’s R50m a year package is likely to have ratcheted up still further in his final 12 months.
The former Sasol CEO is unlikely to retain fond memories of his time in Johannesburg. Presumably those responsible for his spectacularly unsuccessful appointment will be doing some reflection of their own.