Executive belts a few notches out

Mick Wilkes
Mick Wilkes
Belt-tightening at Oceana Gold appears not to have reached all levels of the workforce, with the combined total remuneration to its top five executives up almost 40% last year, to $US4.36 million ($NZ5.81 million).

Separately, the 2014 top-tier wage bill rises further to $US5.33 million when the more than $US970,000 remuneration for fees and consulting of Oceana's seven directors are included.

Melbourne-headquartered Oceana, an almost $1 billion company by market capitalisation, has nevertheless had to knuckle down and find $US100 million of cost-savings during the past two years, given the languishing spot gold price.

Oceana has had to lay off almost 300 staff and contractors during the past two years, and at present is going ahead with plans to mothball its Reefton operations at the end of the year which, unless something changes, will terminate the jobs of about 260 staff.

Oceana's top five executives are all paid from a mix of base salary, option-based awards, annual bonus awards and pension values - with each of the five executives making more in 2014 than 2013, ranging from a small 0.27% rise to $US657,000 to a 55% rise to $US933,729.

The option-based awards are included in each individual's annual remuneration, but are an incentive and not a cash component. The employee is given an option to purchase shares, to buy at a set price in the future, usually taken up once shares had gained value beyond the set price.

Four of the executives started 2014 with a base salary cut, including chief executive Mick Wilkes, but all five went on to make substantial gains in annual bonus awards to boost their overall remuneration against their 2013 earnings.

The 2013 collective $3.12 million remuneration for the five rose 39%, to $US4.36 million in 2014, Oceana's just-lodged annual accounts show.

Mr Wilkes' overall remuneration rose 9.3%, from $US1.28 million to $US1.39 million, including a 62% increase in bonus from $US278,600 to $US452,690, on top of his $US572,500 salary and option-based awards of $US352,200, the latter slightly down on his 2013 option awards.

Chief operating officer Michael Holmes booked an overall 55% increase, from $US600,900 to $US933,700, including an inaugural $US220,200 bonus and 120% increase in option awards, from $US118,300 to $US261,300.

Chief development officer Mark Cadzow got an overall 13% boost in remuneration, to $US791,600, including a 44% gain in annual bonus to $US162,300 and options gains of 38%, to $US132,200.

Chief financial officer Mark Chamberlain booked a 0.27% overall increase in remuneration, to $US657,200, with also a slight increase in bonus to $US122,700 and a 15% gain in options, to $183,300.

Head of business development Darren Klinck gained a 12.6% overall rise, to $US580,600, including about 30% gains each in bonus, to $US128,500, and options to $US137,200.

Oceana's chairman, James Askew, received $US189,200, director William Myckatyn and Geoff Raby, $US110,000 each, Denham Shale $US105,750, Jose Mr Leviste jun $US83,300 and Paul Sweeney and Jacob Klein about $US53,000 each.

Mr Wilkes, also a director, received no director's fees, while Leviste jun received an additional $US275,800 in fees for ''consulting services'' in the Philippines.

simon.hartley@odt.co.nz

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