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Australia's highest paid CEO takes home $36.8m per year: who is it?

Samantha Menzies
Senior editor – Finance

Persistent and increasing bonus payments to Australia’s top chief executives are driving their wages to record levels.

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According to latest analysis of CEO pay by the Australian Council of Superannuation Investors (ACSI), Australia’s highest earner, Domino’s Pizza Enterprises’ Don Meij took home $36.8 million in 2017, a whopping 669 times the wage of an average Aussie worker.

Westfield’s Peter & Steven Lowy came in with the second highest wage of $25.9 million, with MAcquarie Group’s Nicholas More and Ramsay Heath Care’s Chris Rex came in close behind with $25.1 million and $22.3 million respectively.

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Louis Gries at James Hardie Industries, Andrew Bassat at Seek, Ron Delia at Amcor, Alan Joyce at Qantas Airways, Colin Goldschmidt at Sonic Healthcare and Mark Hooper at Sigma Healthcare comprised the remainder of the top 10 list for the past financial year.

Bonus payments were the main driver of wage growth, with a massive 18% rise year-on-year – the highest recorded in the history of the survey.

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“At a time when public trust in business is at a low ebb and wages growth is weak, board decisions to pay large bonuses just for hitting budget targets rather than exceptional performance, are especially tone-deaf,” ACSI CEO Louise Davidson said.

“This may be a sign that boards have lost sight of the link between a company’s social licence and the expectations of communities and investors.”