Fur flies in media house catfight over CEO’s R24m payout in a recession
A fearsome fight has broken out on Moneyweb over Avusa CEO Prakash Desai’s gobsmacking R24-million payout, with Desai countering by accusing Moneyweb of "spreading lies and chicanery". The fight follows a column written by Gill Moodie headlined “Avusa unbundling payout is obscene and immoral”. In fact, Moodie was not so much accusing Desai of obscenity as pointing to a Business Day report by Chantelle Benjamin which revealed that Desai pocketed the money when he split Avusa in two and sold a valuable stake in pay-TV channel, DStv. The article drew a angry response from Desai who said the amount was so large because, unlike many other options holders, he had not exercised his options when they vested. They had piled up between 2002 and 2008, during which time the share price rose from R8.50 to more than R100. But he was forced to exercise when the company was split into Avusa and Element One.