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How do you compare to Australia’s highest-paid CEOs?

Qantas CEO Alan Joyce

If you earn $4.5 million a year, your income still only equates to the median of ASX 100 company bosses, new analysis reveals in a ranking of Australia’s highest-paid CEOs.

According to the CEO pay in ASX 200 companies report — the 18th such annual compilation by the Australian Council of Superannuation Investors (ACSI) — median realised pay among Australia’s biggest 100 companies came in at $4.5 million.

Among the top 200 ASX-listed companies, 10 CEOs took home more than $10 million in the 2018 financial year. The average, however, was a much lower $1.03 million, down by 1.5 per cent on the previous year.


Yet that average annual income is still more than the total average household wealth of Australians, which the ABS revealed in July this year had risen to $1.02 million.

The CEOs of many of Australia’s largest and best-known companies failed to make the list of the 10 biggest earners, including those of the major banks, Telstra, BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto. Not a single woman was ranked among the top 10 either.

The report ranked Australia’s highest paid ASX 100 CEOs (in terms of realised pay) as:

  • Alan Joyce (pictured), Qantas Airways: $23,876,351
  • Nicholas Moore, Macquarie Group: $23,855,580
  • Michael Clarke, Treasury Wine Estates: $19,024,334
  • Bob Vassie, St Barbara: $13,246,088
  • Craig Scroggie, NextDC: $12,515,914
  • Sandeep Biswas, Newcrest Mining: $12,083,392
  • Brian Benari, Challenger Group: $11,696,001
  • Raleigh Finlayson, Saracen Mineral Holdings: $11,284,256
  • Andrew Bassat, Seek: $10,744,472
  • Colin Goldschmidt, Sonic Healthcare: $10,017,376

Termination payments also cost shareholders big time, with departing ASX 200 CEOs taking a collective $25.15 million with them — although this was down on the $33.63 million paid out the year prior.

The report criticised the substantial earnings, however, as being part of a “culture of entitlement”, with ACSI’s own CEO, Louise Davidson, stating in her foreword that bonuses are readily paid to executives and what should be at-risk performance-based pay “may not be very risky at all”.

The report said that “only one eligible ASX 100 CEO did not receive an FY18 bonus”, which it claimed was a record low, and down substantially on the six that went bonus-less the year before.



Last year’s list of highest-paid CEOs was topped by Domino’s Pizza Enterprises’ Don Meij, who took home $36,837,702.



Adam Zuchetti

Adam Zuchetti

Adam Zuchetti is the editor of My Business, and has steered the publication’s editorial direction since early 2016. 

The two-time Publish Awards finalist has an extensive journalistic career across business, property and finance, including a four-year stint in the UK. Email Adam at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

How do you compare to Australia’s highest-paid CEOs?
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