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$264 million: 20 highest-paid Aussie CEOs

·Personal Finance Editor
·2-min read
A composite image of Australian currency and the Sydney CBD where many Aussie CEOs work.
Aussie CEO's took home massive pack packets in the last financial year. (Source: Getty)

Anthony Elsen and Nick Molner, the joint-CEOs of Afterpay, made more than $264 million combined in the 12 months to June.

That’s more than $100 million each, setting a new record for an absolutely insane paycheque, according to the most recent CEO pay report by the Australian Council of Superannuation Investors (ACSI).

Elsen and Molner were able to smash the previous record due to exercising their $1 options when the Afterpay share price was at $90.

This meant they were able to buy a certain amount of shares at the set price of $1, despite the market value being significantly higher.

“Alongside bonus outcomes, our research highlights some of the highest pay ever recorded in the study, fuelled by the vesting of equity incentives,” ACSI CEO Louise Davidson said.

“This clearly raises the question of whether the quantum of rewards being delivered to senior executives is appropriate.

“Boards will have to carefully consider, when deciding the size of equity packages, whether the eventual outcome is accurately reflective of achievements.”

The report also found the median CEO bonus, as a percentage of their salary, rose from FY20’s record low of 31 per cent to a much more substantial 76.7 per cent.

“In the first year of the pandemic, Australian boards responded to market turmoil, and the deep and lasting impacts on communities, to appropriately reduce CEO pay outcomes,” Davidson said.

“Our latest analysis shows that the pendulum swung significantly in the opposite direction over the following 12 months, evidencing a market-wide ‘catch-up’ in pay for CEOs and, most likely, their executive teams.”

The average bonus awarded to an ASX100 CEO hit a record $2.31 million, exceeding 2017’s record of $2.3 million.

Three CEOs received maximum bonuses over the past three years – Premier Investments’ Mark McInnes, Charter Hall’s David Harrison and Steadfast’s Robert Kelly.

By contrast, Qantas’s Alan Joyce was the only incumbent ASX100 CEO not to receive a bonus in either FY20 or FY21.

A chart showing the highest-paid CEOs.
*Italicised CEOs are those heading up foreign-domiciled ASX200 companies, who are included for comparative purposes. (Source: ACSI)

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