Michael Pascoe writes:

While AWB’s fortunes sink lower by the Cole
inquiry day, it’s nice to see that it still seems to be a caring, sharing sort
of organisation when it comes to looking after those at the top.

Yesterday’s AFR suggested AWB could be
facing a payout of nearly $1.5 million to its former CEO and two company

Last week’s resignation of Richard
Fuller and Jim Cooper may trigger remuneration policies that will give both
former executives a payout of up to 12 months’ salary. AWB’s remuneration structure – as
outlined in its latest annual report – allows senior executives to take a
year’s payment in lieu of notice when their employment is terminated.

However, a company spokesman denied
that either executive had been terminated and said their departure was part of
a wider company reorganisation. Mercer Consulting partner of human
capital Paul Riggs said it was common for companies recovering from a crisis to
reorganise personnel but that this eventually came at a cost.

“Whether it’s a resignation or the
company telling them to go, or if it’s done in some mutually agreed terms, in
the end they are leaving with a benefits package,” he said.

AWB’s very brief announcement to the stock
exchange last week merely said the two company secretaries had “resigned”. An ordinary bloke might think that if someone
quits, they just leave with their super and accumulated leave… but that seems
not to quite be the case here.

Gee, AWB wouldn’t mislead the ASX, would