The top earners in Australia received substantially less than in FY17.

By Emily Pidgeon


Posted on September 17, 2019

It may have been a rocky year for the Royal Commission, but the CEOs of ASX100 still managed to come out on top.

The highest-paid chief executives for the 2018 financial year were revealed in a new study by the Australian Council of Superannuation Investors.

Qantas Airways CEO Alan Joyce landed the top spot after taking home A$23.87 million for FY18 – a seven spot jump on the previous year. The mammoth salary came the same year Qantas made a record profit of A$1.6 billion.

Following closely behind was Macquarie Group CEO Nicholas Moore with A$23.85 in realised pay.

The annual study found the recent financial year had a record-breaking year of bonus handouts where only one CEO failed to receive extra cash out of the 100 top companies.

Highest paid CEOs revealed – and their average bonus is A$1.61 millionDomino’s CEO Don Meij was the only CEO not to receive a bonus for FY18, however he took home A$36.84 million in FY17.

“The way bonuses are being handed out suggests there is a culture of entitlement whereby supposedly ‘at risk’ pay is not very risky at all,” ACSI CEO Louise Davidson says. “These payments occurred in a year when the Royal Commission was in full swing, revealing evidence that executives were not being held accountable for poor conduct, and in the wake of soaring ‘first strike’ votes against remuneration reports.

Domino’s CEO Don Meij was the only CEO not to receive a bonus for the 2018 financial year, however, he took home A$36.84 million in FY17 – a record high for the ACSI study. The figure was more than A$12 million more than Joyce received the following year, according to the report.

The median bonus awarded to the ASX100 CEOs was A$1.61 million, a mass sum that is the second-highest in the 18-year history of the study.

As a result of the departure of many highly paid executives across the leading Australian companies, the average realised pay dropped from A$6.23 million to A$5.66 million. However, 10 CEOs took home more than A$10 million in FY18.

“Clearly, corporate Australia is not getting the message that bonus payments should be variable and awarded for stretch performance, rather than being fixed pay under another name,” Davidson says. “This is a failure of both discipline and leadership.”

Top 10 highest-paid ASX200 CEOs for FY18

  1. Alan Joyce, Qantas Airways – A$23.87 million
  2. Nicholas Moore, Macquarie Group – A$23.85 million
  3. Michael Clarke, Treasury Wine Estates – A$19.02 million
  4. Bob Vassie, St Barbara – A$13.24 million
  5. Craig Scroggie, Next DC – A$12.51 million
  6. Sandeep Biswas, Newcrest Mining – A$12.08 million
  7. Brian Benari, Challenger Group – A$11.69 million
  8. Raleigh Finlayson, Saracen Mineral Holdings – A$11.28 million
  9. Andrew Bassat, Seek – A$10.74 million
  10. Colin Goldschmidt, Sonic Healthcare – A$10.01 million