Rio Tinto chairman highest paid among ASX 100 directors

Simon Thompson Image: Rio Tinto

Rio Tinto chairman Simon Thompson has been named the highest paid single board director among the 100 largest ASX-listed companies, with an annual paycheck of more than $1.6 million.

BHP chairman Ken MacKenzie ranked third with a remuneration of more than $1.3 million a year, as revealed by a new Apllo Communications report analysing remunerations for 563 non-executive directors of the top ASX-listed organisations.

The report, the most detailed study of its kind in Australia, aims at examining what skills business leaders have to combat the economic crisis in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Apollo Communications chief executive Adam Connolly said that by ranking the market capitalisation of all 100 ASX-listed companies, the report examined which boards and which industries are paid more or less than their market size dictates.

Mining companies such as BHP, Rio Tinto and Newcrest Mining are among the companies studied, with Newcrest’s board of directors ranked as providing the second best value in a comparison of remunerations against the size of the company.

Newcrest has a market capitalisation of $24 billion, ranking it 16th by size but 66th in terms of board fees paid.

Global biotech company, CSL, has been ranked as having the best value board in Australia in terms of board remuneration against company size with its market capitalisation of $116 billion.

The top 10 best value boards in Australia in terms of board remuneration against company size include CSL, Newcrest Mining, Magellan Fin Group, Coles Group, GPT Group, Afterpay Touch, Xero, Sydney Airport, the a2 Milk company and Sonic Healthcare.

In terms of the best paid boards, BHP ranks first (third by market capitalisation), while Rio Tinto (12th by market capitalisation) sits at the fourth place.

Australia’s 100 largest ASX-listed companies are worth a collective $1.7 trillion, employ up to three million workers, and are the engine room of the Australian economy.

The 563 non-executive directors are paid at a collective $176 million a year, just 0.01 per cent annually of the market capitalisation of the ASX companies they oversee.

Other interesting findings from the report are figures indicating the wide gender pay gap that still exists at the top executive level.

Despite corporate Australia being a public supporter of gender equality,
male directors earn 20 per cent on average more than their female colleagues ($263,144 v $218,696), for no obvious reason.

The ‘director pay gap’ narrows at the chair level, with male chairs earning 14.7 per cent more than female chairs on average ($502,516 v $437,990).

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