Which CEO is taking home the biggest pay?
The Australian Council of Superannuation Investors (ACSI) has revealed the highest paid CEOs among ASX-listed companies in the 2021 financial year.
Afterpay co-founders Anthony Eisen and Nick Molnar earned a combined $264.2m in FY21, breaking the record for CEO pay. The pair had exercised 1.5 million share options, allowing them to buy those shares at only $1. This was when Afterpay’s actual share price was at $90.
Joining Eisen and Molnar in the list of highest earners are CSL’s Paul Perreault ($58.9m), Macquarie's Shemara Wikramanayake ($14.7m), and Woolworths’ Brad Banducci ($11.8m).
ACSI’s annual CEO Pay in ASX200 companies report also showed just how much chief executives around the country are being paid. The media pay for ASX 100 CEOs jumped from $5.85m in 2020 to $9.15m in 2021.
That’s about 132 times larger compared to the $1,328 per week salary of an average Australian worker.
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Raking in the bonuses
Salaries aren’t the only ones fuelling the massive paydays for Australian chief executives. The average bonus awarded to bosses reached $2.31m. The figure broke the national record of $2.30m set in 2017.
Qantas boss Alan Joyce was the lone member of the ASX 100 CEOs that did not receive a bonus in either FY20 or FY21. Joyce reportedly earned $1.98m in 2021.
According to the ACSI report, the multimillion-dollar CEOs bonuses likely returned as companies bounce back from the impact of the Covid pandemic. Many businesses have started to phase out the temporary pay cuts they were forced to implement.
“After their lowest year on record, big bonuses have returned, but they haven't just rebounded, they've hit new heights,” ACSI Executive Manager Ed John said.
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“That's why investors, and ACSI, will be scrutinising closely the results-reporting season to see if this concerning trend of bonus 'catch-up' continues. This year's outcomes will be judged against a backdrop of difficult financial markets and an uncertain economic outlook.”
John also cautioned companies about paying bonuses to their CEOs, stating that they should be given in recognition of outstanding corporate performance.
“Bonuses for CEOs shouldn't be awarded for business-as-usual outcomes,” John pointed out. “Payments to senior executives have to be aligned with value created for shareholders and reflect true outperformance.”
Top 10 highest paid ASX 100 CEOs
1. Anthony Eisen & Nick Molnar – Afterpay ($264,222,249)
2. Paul Perreault – CSL ($58,914,531)
3. Mick Farrell – ResMed ($37,403,034)
4. Greg Goodman – Goodman Group ($37,105,490)
5. Robert Thomson – News Corporation ($28,690,792)
6. Michael & Matthew Heine – Netwealth Group ($25,846,554)
7. Alex Dorsch – Chalice Mining ($17,806,728)
8. Shemara Wikramanayake – Macquarie Group ($14,693,343)
9. Jack Truong – James Hardie ($13,321,625)
10. Brad Banducci – Woolworths Group ($11,788,098)