Crikey is working up three lists for the top 20 Australian salary packages for ongoing executives and departing executive as well as a separate list for the biggest executive profits on share options. We’ve largely completed the golden parachute list below but would love your help on the options profits and the largest pay packets for ongoing CEOs.

Send any corrections or additions to [email protected] and anyone who comes up with five corrections or additions for any single list will be entitled to a free subscription.


Chase Carey: became a director of Fox Entertainment in 1992 and was News Corp’s co-chief operating officer from 1996 until January this year when he departed after the Sky Global float fell over and Lachlan Murdoch was promoted over him. The total pay of $US10.7 million included $US5 million for termination, a base of $US1.6 million and a $US3 million bonus. Relations still appear fine as Rupert is supporting his re-election as a director at this year’s AGM.

Doug Ebert: the long-serving CEO of NAB’s Michigan National bank collected a whopping $20.8 million payout and pension when NAB sold it for a $2 billion profit to ABN Amro in 2001. The structure was put in place back in 1995 and at least he created loads of shareholder value.

Paul Anderson: the BHP CEO engineered his only early departure by gifting $5 billion of value to Billiton in the “$58 billion merger” which is now much less than that. Despite all his public statements about executive excess, Anderson now comes out on top of the Aussie-based list with a grand pay packet of $18 million in his final year at the top. Lo and behold, he is allowed to go a year early, receive his contract in full as if terminated and also stay on a non-executive director. Not bad if you can get it.

Sheryl Pressler: the ousted head of Lend Lease’s US real estate business managed to get her contract paid out in full so she walked away with $15 million last year which was 10 per cent of the company’s overall profit in 2000-01.

George Trumbull: After 3 years causing a lot of damage at AMP, George Trumbull was finally sacked in August 1999 and walked away with a tidy $12.12 million in his final year. He got $4.94 million the year before and didn’t need to work again but after more than 12 months off he’s back in the game as a CEO in America.

John Prescott: After almost 40 years with BHP, John Prescott walked away after an 8 years stint as CEO with $11.17 million in his final year back in 1998. The company wrote off about $10 billion thanks to his mistakes so he should have been sacked at least three years earlier.

Len Bleasel: After starting out as a humble plumber, the retired AGL CEO collected a very handy $11 million in 2001 and that’s before considering superannuation.

Tom Park: the former Southcorp CEO only spent 5 months of his 5 year contract with the company but after buying Rosemout for $1.5 billion and bringing the management team in he was redundant but still collected $7.8 million in 2001 before taking the reigns at Goodman Fielder where he lined up for another huge whack of options. Add another $2.3 million that he got the following year and Park’s 5 month effort paid him an incredible $10.1 million.

Don Argus: Walked away from the NAB with $9.259 million in cash in 1999 including $7.47 million in “retirement allowances”. The Don was also allowed to keep all his options which have made him more than $20 million in profits.

Dennis Eck: The Coles Myer CEO walked away with $8.65 million in his final year at the retailing giant in 2000-01 and remains on a consultancy deal for several years.

John Fletcher: Talk about ironic. Fletch was terminated by Brambles whwen Don “Don’t Argue” Argus took over as chairman and he got precisely the same payout that Dennis Eck enjoyed from Coles Myer. But after a few weeks of golf, Fletch decided he’d like to replace Eck even though he’d not been into a supermarket for 20 years. So far, it has been a disaster but with all that Brambles cash in the bank, who cares.

Peter Bartels: New Foster’s chairman Nobby Clarke did himself no credit by agreeing to an $8 million payout to Peter Bartels when he refused to sign the accounts in 1992. Outrageously, this was staggered over 5 years so it never showed up as a big lump sum and the market was never told.

Richard Jenkins: this chap was never even a main board director of Macquarie Bank but after serving as one of the many internal executive directors for 15 years, his final payout was a handsome $7.4 million, almost of which of was accrued but deferred bonuses. One hates to think what some of the really big boys such as Allan Moss and David Clarke will get when they retire or get fired from the millionaire factory.

Lloyd Williams: after PBL bought Crown casino, Lloyd bowed out of PBL with a $375,000 base salary and a $6.92 million “termination payment” bringing the total figure in 1999-2000 to $7.295m. James Packer told Crikey after an AGM question that an independent arbitrator came up with the figure despite the fact that Lloyd and Kerry are best mates.

Ian Clack: when punted from Burns Philp about 5 years back, the former CEO received a total payout of $7 million.

Joe Pickett: NAB’s former Homeside CEO was fired when he lost $4 billion but still walked out with a handsome $5.8 million in 2001 which included “performance based remuneration” of $4.53 million.

Hugh Harris: NAB’s former Homeside chief financial officer copped a $4.53 million “performance based” lump sum when terminated for losing $4 billion last year which brought his total pay to a thoroughly undeserved $5.6 million.

Nick Falloon: It is not so bad getting sacked by the Packers when you walk out with $5.27 million which is exactly what happened to the former PBL CEO. A nice round $3m of this was for “termination”.

Rodney Adler: collected a $4.3 million termination when HIH took over his worm-infested business in 1998 but then stayed on the board as a non-executive director with a $480,000 a year consultancy that was not disclosed to shareholders.

Peter Bartels: the barrel-chested former cyclist collected $3.7 million in his final year from Coles Myer when he got terminated 6 months early.

Rod Chadwick: After 37 years with Pacific Dunlop, the ousted CEO collected a total payout of $3.49 million last year.