Top boss takes a swipe at $1 million salaries for execs

MORE  than 40 executives at three of New Zealand's top companies now earn more than $1 million a year, and one of our top bosses has taken a swipe at CEOs' salaries.

Former New Zealander of the Year and television host Ian Taylor - now considered one of the country's most astute business people - says he can no longer remain silent on the debate around executives' salaries.

"As a CEO of a privately owned company, I have not taken a pay rise for 10 years and I currently share my salary with my wife, who works fulltime in the company without pay," said Mr Taylor, founder and CEO of Animation Research in Dunedin.

"I have made a personal commitment to remain on that salary until I am satisfied every person working with me is paid what they are worth."

Mr Taylor's comments come as the Business Herald today reveals that 41 executives at Fonterra, Telecom and Fletcher Building earn more than $1 million a year. The number has more than tripled in a decade, and sparked debate over their level of pay.

Former Telecom chief Paul Reynolds was paid $12.7 million in the last financial year. Fonterra's Andrew Ferrier received $8.2 million and Fletcher's Jonathan Ling $2.4 million.

Pay surveys released mid-year showed the median annual base salary for CEOs and managing directors rose by $28,311 to $315,000 this year - a jump of nearly 10 per cent.

Mr Taylor said a CEO's remuneration "should be measured by how well he or she protects jobs and should bear a direct relationship to how well the employees ... are paid".

In a letter to the New Zealand Herald, he referred to a comment last week by former Nuplex chairman Fred Holland, who, when referring to a 26 per cent rise for non-executive directors, said: "You won't get anything but monkeys if you pay peanuts."

Mr Taylor said: "If that means I have joined our fellow primates in his eyes then I know who I would rather spend my time with: Them and the countless other CEOs and management of small New Zealand companies who still live in the real world."

Read more this story at the New Zealand Herald

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