The Oz headline paints a picture of Qantas’s CEO sharing the pain of his shareholders and workers with a 20% pay cut. You have to read well down in the body copy of the Smage version to find that’s not quite the case.

And that means the area in which Qantas runs at its biggest comparative disadvantage against its main competitors is the pay packets of its top few executives.

Geoff Dixon’s pay for the past year fell from $4.5 million to $3.1 million, but his CFO and heir apparent, Peter Gregg, still managed a slight rise to $3.7 million. Hang on, that means the CFO was paid more than the CEO? No.

The kicker is that Dixon and Gregg both received very handsome benefits for signing up to new contracts last month – more than compensating for Geoff’s salary dip last year. As Scott Rochfort reports: “Mr Dixon was put on an ‘ongoing’ contract, where he was paid a $7.7 million ‘benefit’ in the form of a superannuation contribution. Mr Gregg was paid $4.5 million in cash for renewing his contract.”

And Qantas’s number three man John Borghetti also did nicely, his remuneration jumping from only $1.8 million to $3.2 million.

No, those at the top are not sharing the pain of customers, shareholders and mere workers during these harder times of high fuel costs. Nothing changes.

Peter Fray

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