Executive Snouts in the Trough

Corporate porkers are easily identified during company financial reporting season, which unveils excessive executive salary packages. Despite the GFC and southward-heading company profits, their greed and hubris remain in tact.


Ex Qantas CEO Geoff Dixon is certainly no exception, with total $10.7m for 5 months in the job and 3 months as consultant last financial year. New CEO Alan Joyce’s total package is $3.7m. Dicko’s was 10% of company profits: details of his obscene windfall & below average performance.

BHP Billiton Chief Executive Marius Kloppers was almost modest in comparison, total pay package $12m, up 51%. Shareholder returns were down 35% but deferred performance shares and long term rewards helped Klops break that simple nexus. At least he worked the whole year.

Commonwealth Bank boss Ralph Norris languished with a $9.2m package, despite a drop in profits and pressure for bank executive salary restraint following GFC. Using Federal government deposit & wholesale funding guarantees to gobble up Bank West, and navigate the Storm Financial scandal, show how complex modern banking gets and high pay is merited.

APRA is studying pay practices at financial institutions, to discourage over-risky behaviour, and the Productivity Commission is looking into executive pay in Australia at the behest of the Federal government, which promised to ‘ensure regulation of executive pay keeps pace with community expectations’.

Pigs might fly too, if their tummies weren’t so stuffed full!

John Ralston Saul, author of ‘Voltaire’s Bastards’, in his critique of the managerial class reminds us that they’re not capitalists creatively risking their own money to produce real output, but rather employee bureaucrats playing the system for their own enrichment. More on Saul another time, but he’s compulsory reading for all MBA aspirants.



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