The Commonwealth Bank annual report is
just one of hundreds that will reveal increased executive pay over the
next few weeks, but this trend for outrageously large golden goodbyes
seems to be gathering pace, no matter how well – or poorly – the CEO performed.

Hilmer’s $4.5 million “retirement benefit” is completely unjustified at
Fairfax, and Roger Corbett’s golden farewell is also way over the top
at Woolworths.

However, in terms of the least justifiable
termination payouts to CEOs, here is our top 12 from the past six years
and you should remember that these figures are just for termination or
retirement, they don’t include super, profits on shares or other
accrued entitlements:

1. George Trumbull, AMP, $7.5m
2. Keith Lambert, Southcorp, $4.4m
3. Sir CK Chow, Brambles, $7.7m
4. Frank Cicutto, NAB, $6.5m
5. David Higgins, $6.7m, Lend Lease
6. Dennis Eck, Coles Myer, $4.7m
7. Brian Gilbertson, BHP-Billiton, $10m
8. Peter Macdonald, James Hardie, $8.2m
9. Fred Hilmer, Fairfax, $4.5m
10. Peter Yates, PBL, $6.5m
11. Ted Kunkel, Foster’s, $3.4m
12. Paul Anderson, BHP, $3.2m

someone like Anderson did a reasonable job at BHP, but giving a $3.2
million “termination payment” on top of everything else was impossible
to justify. Chris Cuffe’s $26.5 million payout from CBA would
ordinarily be on such a list but he wasn’t the CEO of a publicly listed
company. Feedback, corrections or additions to [email protected]

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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