The depressing market conditions faced by many companies in the Australian mining sector are showing up in the pruned pay packet of their top executives. Many companies have already announced the chopping of pay packets for their CEOs.
In Western Australia, the highest paid CEO is losing that tag after NRW Holding joined its peers in cutting the salary by 40 percent. Accordingly, CEO Julian Pemberton’s salary, including superannuation will be cut to AU$ 80, 000 down from AU$1.32 million. The move follows company’s weaker financial results, redundancies and shrinkage in the operations.
Pemberton was having the sixth highest base salary among the CEOs in Western Australia, according to a salary survey by Business News. His total remuneration was AU$1.49 million.
Among the companies, which slashed CEO pay include Macmahon, Emeco, Southern Cross and Ausdrill. Meanwhile, the Australian Council of Superannuation Investors has stated that the average reported pay for CEOs of the ASX200 listed companies stands at AU$3.74 million a year. It is 47 times the average wage of a full time Australian worker. Compared to other countries in the West, the gap between CEO pay and worker-pay is not that big.
One reason is that the average wages in the US are less than half of Australia and CEO salaries of more than AU$20 million are not uncommon. That translates into a huge difference of more than 300 times gap between CEO pay and that of a full time worker.
Words in the industry is that CEO salaries in Australia indeed doubled since 2001, it said they are still below the 2007 peak, the period when Global Financial Crisis hit the corporate sector, reports Herald Sun.
“The GFC pay levels have dropped and flattened, which we certainly think is appropriate,” said ACSI CEO Louise Davidson.
Wealth for Life Financial Planning principal, Rex Whitford said Australians do not begrudge high earners as long as they delivered.
“We do operate in a global market and the idea is we have to compete with what other countries pay their CEOs,” he said.
According to him, one major hiccup faced by CEOs is that they might never get another job of that level again and that somewhat defends the claim for a bit higher pay packet.
According to ACSI’s Davidson, there is a bigger say by shareholders in the matter of CEO pay. The recent “two-strike” rule further makes it more ticklish with its mandate that if 25 percent of shareholders vote against a pay report for two years in succession, it will amount to the censure of an entire board.