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Here are Australia's 10 highest paid chief executives

Michael Douglas as trader Gordon Gekko

Australia’s 10 highest paid chief executives scooped up $70 million more than reported by their companies, according to analysis by the Australian Council of Superannuation Investors.

The annual CEO pay study calculates the total value of remuneration received by CEOs across the S&P ASX200 index in a financial year rather than the usual pay details included in annual reports.

Based on statutory reporting, the top 10 CEO earnings totalled $99.63 million in 2014.

However, these CEOs also exercised options and received shares under long term incentive schemes, bringing the total value of cash and equity to $171.4 million.

Here are the 10 highest paid CEOs of ASX 100 companies:

Louise Davidson, CEO of the Australian Council of Superannuation Investors, says the figures suggest that the existing requirements for reporting executive pay may significantly understate the rewards received.

“Statutory reporting is, perhaps, disclosing only the tip of the iceberg in terms of the wealth accruing to senior executives,” she says.

Statutory reporting of executive pay is designed to show the expense to the company, not the reward to the individual. If shares increase in value, that’s not shown in the annual report.

Points from the analysis:

  • The highest realised pay in the ASX200: Ramsay Health Care’s Chris Rex at $30.8 million.
  • Outside the ASX100. The highest realised pay for a CEO outside the ASX100 was $18.03 million for Nine Entertainment’s David Gyngell.
  • Average cash bonus in the ASX100 was $1.35 million, up more than 10%. The median cash bonus increased 12% to $1.07 million.
  • Proportion of CEOs getting a bonus, just over 90%, was up for the second year in a row. Median cash pay increased by 14.3% to $2.89 million.
  • Average realised pay in the ASX100 was $5.63 million, compared to average reported pay of $5.01 million.
  • Two large termination payments stood out: $13.59 million to former Leighton CEO Hamish Tyrwhitt and $8.13 million, in various payments, to former PanAust CEO Gary Stafford.
  • The lowest paid CEO on all measures (realised, reported and cash) was Flight Centre’s Graham Turner. He gets $657,073 and does not participate in any equity incentive schemes. However, he is the largest shareholder in the company.

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