New female mining boss earning half a million less than predecessor

New female mining boss earning half a million less than predecessor

Elizabeth Gaines officially commenced as CEO of Fortescue on Monday.

Her appointment to the role late last year marked a significant win for the proportion of women leading ASX 200 companies, which can’t seem to crack the 5% mark.

But, like with Australia Post’s new CEO Christine Holgate’s remuneration package, it seems Gaines will take home less in base pay and total remuneration than her predecessor.

According to Fairfax papers today, Gaines’ base pay is half a million less than the $2 million her predecessor Nev Power earned. Her total remuneration package also falls well short of Power, totalling out at $5.5 million compared to Power’s $7.25 million.

In the case of Holgate, her salary of $1.375 million a year which can double if she hits performance targets, is substantially less than that of her predecessor Ahmed Fahour. He took home $5.6 million in the financial year prior to his departure, and received a $6 million exit package.

Fortescue chair Andrew Forrest sought to pre-empt any questions about a pay gap, noting that: “Recognising the market expectation that salary levels for incoming CEOs are typically lower at the start of their term, we believe that the base salary and incentive arrangements for our new CEO will ensure the strongest alignment for delivering of the best outcomes for shareholders.”

Interestingly, Australia Post and Fortescue share one other key thing in common: their boards are now both majority female.

In October, Australia Post also announced it had official closed its gender pay gap across its 30,000 employees, something very few Australian employers have managed to do.

Fortescue has reported to the Workplace Gender Equality Agency that it has conducted formal pay gap audits across its payroll, and taken various forms of action, including correcting like-for-like gaps.

As also noted in The Age today, the gap’s occurring in the reverse at Sydney Airport, where incoming CEO Geoff Culbert will be paid $300,000 less than his female predecessor Kerrie Mather’s base pay of $1.8 million.

I’m hoping that both Gaines’ and Holgate’s reduced remuneration is less of a pay gap trend occurring at the very top, and more a matter of excessive CEO salaries taking a cut.

Stay Smart! Get Savvy!

Get Women's Agenda in your inbox