Dec 23, 2009

Crikey’s Business Awards of the Year: organisations

Crikey names the businesses who made a splash in 2009 -- for all the right and wrong reasons.

Adam Schwab — Business director and commentator

Adam Schwab

Business director and commentator

Wilson Tuckey Memorial Kindness to Pensioners Award

To the generous Kangaroo: Australia’s national airline Qantas felt it necessary to compensate former CEO Geoff Dixon more than $3 million as a result of changes to Australia’s superannuation laws. That Dixon didn’t suffer any loss (he was able to utilise a loophole to avoid penalty) was apparently not a major concern for the Qantas board. The payment was even more charitable given Dixon’s employment contract (which Qantas publicly released in 2006) specifically stated that that “superannuation tax obligations will be met by Mr Dixon”.

Qantas’ generosity, which had already made Dicko the highest-paid aviation executive in the world didn’t stop there — in total, Dixon received more than $10.6 million for a mere five months work in 2009, including $319,544 under Qantas’ long-term incentive plan —  this was despite the plan notionally containing an earnings-per-share hurdle and Qantas’ earnings slumping falling by 88.6% last year. If that wasn’t bad enough, Dixon received a lavish termination payment — despite not actually being terminated.

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