CEO pay packet gap ‘just not right’

When it comes to paying CEOs ‘‘we haven’t got it right’’ says Auckland businessman Michael Stiassny. Photo: NZ Herald
When it comes to paying CEOs ‘‘we haven’t got it right’’ says Auckland businessman Michael Stiassny. Photo: NZ Herald

A prominent Auckland businessman says CEOs must ‘‘lift their social conscience’’ when it comes to their pay packets.

It was a priority for New Zealand to reduce the pay gap between workers and CEOs, past president of the Institute of Directors, Michael Stiassny, said.

His comment comes after it was revealed that Fonterra bumped up chief executive Theo Spierings’ pay packet to $8.32 million in 2017.

‘‘We have to find a way that the corporate world is looking as though it’s being fair and listening to the majority of people and 8.3 (million) is a little bit high to get into that box,’’ Mr Stiassny told TVNZ’s Q+A programme.

Mr Spierings’ pay rise was a 78.5% jump from his understood annual pay packet of $4.66 million in 2016.

It is 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’s becoming a responsibility for corporates all around the world to take a leadership in these larger items, and it’s up to the boards of New Zealand companies to say we have to find a way of reducing the gap and making it fairer for all people working there,’’ Mr Stiassny said.

When it comes to paying CEOs ‘‘we haven’t got it right’’, he said.

‘‘We need to take account of that, and find a way of making that gap smaller.

‘‘People and CEOs have a social responsibility and need to say ‘I can’t take that much more income compared to the worker in the factory, it’s just not right’.

‘‘We’re asking everyone to lift their social conscience and actually start thinking about society as a whole and let it grow in a good way,’’ he said

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