Two women in top 10 highest paid CEOs list, as bonuses reach new high

Two women in top 10 highest paid CEOs list, as bonuses reach record-breaking heights


Two women were named in a list of the 10 highest paid ASX100 CEOs for the 2021 financial year, as the average bonuses awarded to chief executives hit a record high of $2.31 million.

The Australian Council of Superannuation Investors (ACSI) has published its annual survey of CEO pay for the 2021 financial year, showing the median realised pay for ASX100 CEOs rose to $9.15 million, well above $5.85 million in the previous financial year.

Macquarie Group CEO Shemara Wikramanayake and Fortescue Metals CEO Elizabeth Gaines, were the two women to make the top 10 highest CEOs, at fourth and sixth place respectively.

Wikramanayake’s realised pay for the 2021 financial year was approximately $14.6 million, while Gaines’ realised pay was just over $11.1 million.

The highest paid CEOs in the 2021 financial year were the co-CEOs and co-founders of Afterpay, Anthony Eisen and Nick Molnar, who set a joint record for realised pay at $264.2 million.

Source: ACSI

According to ACSI, the median bonus paid to ASX100 CEOs, as a proportion of maximum, rose from 31 per cent in the 2020 financial year, to a record-breaking 76.7 per cent in 2021. It marks the highest median in the seven years that ACSI has been collecting data on CEO pay. The average bonus paid to ASX100 chiefs was $2,31 million, exceeding 2017’s record of $2.3 million.

Three CEOs received a maximum bonus for the third year in a row: Premier’s McInnes, Charter Hall’s David Harrison and Robert Kelly of Steadfast.

In the foreword of the report, ACSI CEO Louise Davidson wrote, “An increase is expected when you have had your lowest year on record, but it is concerning to see bonuses not just rebounding but reaching new heights”.

“ACSI will be closely monitoring outcomes in the 2022 reporting season to ensure that rewards are reaped only by outperforming CEOs who deliver value to shareholders – rather than a payment delivered in rain, hail and shine.

“This is of particular concern at a time in which markets are again in significant turmoil and returns to investors will be under pressure.”

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