Bloody Huge Payout
You can bet your bottom dollar that Paul Zahra and Alan Joyce are sending each other bitchy emails about Marius Kloppers this week. The BHP Billiton chief surrendered his bonuses this year after the company wrote down the value of its US shale and gas interests by $2.7 billion.
It’s an annoyingly good natured precedent for a big business executive. Although the fact that Kloppers’ bonus last year was around $4.7 million kind of takes the shine off it.
Even still, Zahra and Joyce are probably cursing him for putting them under the spotlight and it’s a decision they’ll be under some pressure to emulate this year with both companies also reporting significant profit slides.
And they’re not alone, according to news.com.au, 40 of the top 200 ASX-listed companies have warned over the past year profits were sliding or would fall short of earlier forecasts.
To the ordinary person, the decision to forefeit a big, fat bonus would be a bit of a no-brainer. After all, it’d be harder to enjoy sipping champagne on the new luxury yacht when you know you haven’t made budget this year. Wouldn’t it?
And what about keeping the shareholders happy? Australian Shareholders’ Association chief Vas Kolesnikoff told news.com.au that executive pay was “out of control”:
“Workers don’t get a bonus for turning up. It has become pervasive that bosses get a bonus just for maintaining earnings - that’s their base job,” he said.
Damn straight, Mr Kolesnikoff. Especially when you consider that the average bonus for big time executives here in Australia falls between $1-2 million.
Yep, insert your own phwoar noises here.
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