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25 Nov 2017 18:34
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  •   Home > News > Rural

    Fonterra boss tops NZ's pay list

    Fonterra's Theo Spierings has pulled home $8.32 million in 2017, making him the country's highest paid executive in a listed company.


    Fonterra's decision to bump up Theo Spierings pay packet to $8.32 million in 2017 has made him the highest paid chief executive of any listed company in New Zealand.

    Mr Spierings' pay included a base salary of $2.463m, benefits of $170,036 and incentives totalling $5.688m, according to the dairy co-operative's annual report, released on Monday.

    This was a 78.5 per cent jump from his understood annual pay packet of $4.66m in 2016.

    It's a pay packet that makes him clearly New Zealand's highest paid chief executive in any listed company or fund, according to NZME's CEO Pay Survey.

    It took him past former SkyCity boss Nigel Morrison's $6.49m last year and Fletcher Building's Mark Adamson's $4.72m.

    ANZ Banking's David Hisco was the fourth-highest paid executive last year on $4.32m, behind Mr Spierings' $4.66m.

    Mr Spierings' pay equated to $160,000 per week. New Zealand's median weekly salary is $1094 for fulltime workers, according to Statistics New Zealand.

    Fonterra chair John Wilson says Mr Spierings and his executives generated about $2 billion in cash and working capital. His base salary did not increase but his bonus payments did.

    "Clearly these numbers are high from a New Zealand perspective and we absolutely respect and understand that," he said, according to RNZ.

    "[But] from an Australasian and a global perspective which is the nature of our business, they're actually well within the bands of what those global executives earn."

    Fonterra said independent advisors used 24 Australian listed companies of a similar size and complexity to benchmark Mr Spierings' salary.

    Meanwhile, Fonterra's net profit dropped 11 per cent to $745m in 2016/17.

    The dairy supplier's revenue, however, increased by 12 per cent to $19.2 billion and it gave a total cash payout of $6.52 per kilogram of milk solids to its farmer shareholders.

    NZ First leader Winston Peters was scathing about Mr Spiering and his pay packet.

    "Is this corporate New Zealand - fat cat payouts for doing their day job?" he said.

    Mr Peters said Mr Spiering was paid $2.46 million and gave up a $1.8m bonus during one of Fonterra's worst years.

    "Now, during what is an average season, he has not only won that bonus back but secured a $3.85m cherry on top with another $170,000 for superannuation."

    Mr Peters said it was clearly time to implement NZ First's policy to give shareholders a "say on pay" for directors and chief executives.

    © 2017 NZN, NZCity

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