While the rest of us struggle to make ends meet CEO’s of some of Australia’s largest businesses have, in the first few weeks of the year, taken home a year’s worth of average wages. Many earn 100 times more than the average worker, raking in $367,000 a week!

The average salary in Australia (not the mean, which is far lower) is $75,602 or $1453 a week.

2012/13 figures reveal Peter and Steve Lowy, co-executives of Westfield Group, earned $353,000 a week between them – a cool $18.38 million.

Mike Smith, CEO of ANZ Bank, was given the base salary of $10.1 million – $194,000 a week.

Sam Walsh, boss of mining leviathan Rio Tinto, earned the nominal sum of $9.5 million – around $183,000 each week.

The chairman of the Australian Shareholder’s Association, Ian Curry reflects the sentiment of most Australians: He is furious with the greed and exorbitance of CEO remuneration.

“It’s (CEO salaries) often unrelated to business performance, and certainly there’s no real relationship to salaries or wages paid to people in the organisation.

“The base pay executives are paid is often quite high and the attitude is that this is just for turning up, and what they are trying to do is earn bonuses. Whereas most of us would think the base pay is satisfactory.”

I think most Australians would agree the above quoted salaries are MORE than satisfactory.

Westpac boss Gail Kelly, who is due to retire on February 1, has lined her pockets with a statutory pay of $9.1 million in 2012/13 (around $175,000 each week).

David Thodey, boss of Telstra, followed close behind with $8.8 million during the same time ($169,000 a week).

Richard Goyder, head of Wesfarmers, was hot on his heels earning $8.5 million ($165,000 each week).

The Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry questioned the exorbitant payouts. Chief executive officer Kate Carnell said many CEO’s simply hired, fired, and let the business run itself. They presided over downturns affecting the company, its employees, but not them.

“There’s a number of CEOs of the top-listed companies who have had their salaries increased at a significantly faster rate than the pay of average Australians.

“This is a real problem; it’s a problem for perception and for shareholders.

“The vast majority of CEOs are running their own businesses so if they don’t make any money they earn nothing.”

Only when they deliver hefty returns do CEOs deserve hefty salaries.

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