In his infamous 2013 Crikey article that precipitated his sacking from Fairfax (and subsequent employment by Crikey), Paddy Manning alleged that the Australian Financial Review had become “fundamentally ideological in its inevitable pro-business slant”. Manning, who has since become one of Australia’s best-selling business authors, would be vindicated by the Financial Review on Friday, in which Ben Potter laboured to defend CSL’s remuneration practices.
Biotech company CSL has arguably been Australia’s best success story of the last two decades. However, investors turned on its pay practices after the company increased the potential remuneration of US-born CEO Paul Perreault (and gave themselves a hefty pay rise as well). Perreault’s remuneration is now higher than that of former CEO Brian McNamee (under McNamee’s leadership, CSL’s market value increased 100 fold). As Stephen Mayne noted in Crikey on Friday, 26% of CSL investors voted against the company’s remuneration report, 27% against Perreault's generous bonus plan, and more than a third of shareholders opposed the director pay rise.