The gen­er­ous Ack­er­man

But how much of a say do mi­nor­ity share­hold­ers have?

Finweek English Edition - - COMPANIES & MARKETS -

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

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.