The generous Ackerman
But how much of a say do minority shareholders have?
RETAIL LEGEND and grocery chain founder Raymond Ackerman is known as a generous man. In his retirement he hasn’t retired from giving. Last week he donated R857 480 worth of Pick n Pay Holdings shares to some of Pick n Pay’s long-serving employees and his family members, who have also been actively buying up the shares for a few months.
Without revealing the reason that sparked his latest round of generosity, the former chairman gave around 90% of the 44 200 shares to unnamed beneficiaries, while family members and Pick n Pay directors received a total of 4 800 shares in the holding company. Sons Gareth and Jonathan and daughter Suzanne were the named beneficiaries due to their status as directors in the company their father took control of in 1967.
The donation is only one of Ackerman’s many giving efforts over the past five decades. Some of the most famous are soup kitchens Pick n Pay has run for the homeless in SA’s major cities.
Ackerman put up a determined fight championing free markets and consumer rights, all done in an effort to enhance retail competition in order to benefit consumers. From being manhandled out of Government offices to being fined for selling bread to “the poor” and petrol “illegally” lower than the prescribed retail prices, Ackerman fought famous battles in his quest for a free market and championing the consumer cause. Sometimes he paid high prices for it all.
However, as control boards disappeared and freed the markets around two decades ago, what Ackerman hasn’t championed in his own back yard are the very same free market principles that made him one of the most recognisable consumer champions and friends of the free market. The 4 800 shares he gave to the younger
Has resisted loosening the tight family grip on the company