Alan Joyce gets $235k remuneration lift, but still way below his previous package as Australia’s highest paid exec

Rebecca Le MayNCA NewsWire
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Camera IconNot Supplied Credit: News Corp Australia

Mention the name Alan Joyce to the average Australian and you’ll find he’s synonymous with extraordinary levels of executive pay.

It may then incense battlers to hear the Qantas chief executive had a bump in his base cash pay in 2020-21, rising $172,000 from $1.606m the previous financial year to $1.778m.

Including other benefits, his total package was $1.979m, up $235,000 from $1.744m previously.

That’s way below what Mr Joyce was earning in previous years, but headlines of him being Australia’s highest paid executive seem to remain stuck in the public memory.

The company’s 2018 annual report shows he had a total package including share price growth of $24.584m in fiscal 2017, falling to $10.869m the next year.

Camera IconAlan Joyce is earning way less than he did as Australia’s highest paid executive but it’s still a pay packet the average Aussie can only dream of. NCA NewsWire / Jeremy Piper Credit: News Corp Australia

In Qantas’ latest annual report released on Friday, remuneration committee chairman Paul Rayner said Mr Joyce’s total pay outcome for 2020-21 was marginally higher than in prior years, reflecting three months of zero base pay in the previous financial year compared with one month of zero base pay and three months of reduced pay in the 12 months to June 30.

Mr Rayner said executives had gone without annual incentives for the past two years but the pandemic had significantly increased demands on them.

“In 2021/22, our executive cohorts are again facing both an extremely high workload and the prospect of a third year of no annual incentives being awarded,” Mr Rayner said.

“In that context, it is more critical than ever that the group retains its talent, because the delivery of the three-year recovery plan and the other key outcomes required to set our business for success beyond the pandemic depends upon the effort and acumen of our executive leadership in particular.”

He said it was no surprise in that context that the Qantas group, which includes budget carrier Jetstar, was suffering “significant attrition”.

“Our executive cohorts are talented and in increasing demand across a range of industries, many of which, unlike aviation and tourism, are experiencing high rates of growth and activity, with financial rewards to match,” Mr Rayner said.

Camera IconQantas recently booked an eye-watering full-year statutory loss before tax of $2.35bn and has 22,000 employees left after thousands of job cuts during the pandemic. NCA NewsWire / Christian Gilles Credit: News Corp Australia

“The board is particularly concerned that a continued loss of capability and experience will materially inhibit the group’s ability to deliver the key outcomes required for success beyond the pandemic.”

He said Qantas was accordingly considering how to reward and incentivise all employees, with any changes to the remuneration framework deferred until the second half of 2021/22.

“In the case of the CEO and executive management, any such plan would operate in lieu of the traditional annual incentive plan for the year,” Mr Rayner said.

“A separate plan would operate to reward non-executive employees.”

Mr Joyce has offered for the second straight year to defer the decision until at least August next year as to whether his long term incentive plan rights will be forfeited or allowed to convert to shares.

According to the latest annual Australian Council of Superannuation Investors CEO pay report, CSL’s Paul Perreault was the nation’s highest paid boss in 2019-20 on a realised pay basis – cash salary plus the value of equity that vested during the year - while Mr Joyce was in 12th place.

Originally published as Alan Joyce gets $235k remuneration lift, but still way below his previous package as Australia’s highest paid exec

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