The embattled chief of Qantas Airways, Alan Joyce, yesterday said he would forgo any bonus or pay raise, joining a growing list of high-profile top executives at Australian companies who are doing the same.
Qantas is struggling with soaring fuel costs and worsening global conditions and has indicated it will this week post its first annual loss since privatization in 1995.
In a statement to the stock market in June, the airline said it expected underlying profit before tax — its preferred indicator — to be between A$50 million to A$100 million (US$52 million to US$104 million) in the year to June 30
This compares with A$552 million in the previous year.
Joyce said the board had accepted his decision to forgo any short-term or long-term incentive payments that would have been awarded for this financial year, and to turn down any salary increase.
“It’s absolutely appropriate that when company returns go down, executive pay should go down as well,” he said in an interview with the Australian Financial Review.
“It has been an extremely tough year for Qantas shareholders and what we want to show is that my pay has to have a huge correlation with the profitability of the company,” Joyce added.
As well as fuel prices, a soaring Australian dollar and a bitter battle with unions over wages and working conditions that saw Joyce ground the entire fleet for 48 hours in October last year have also cost the airline dearly.
According to the newspaper, Joyce’s pay will fall to A$2.3 million for this financial year, compared with the A$5 million he took home the previous year when bonuses and other incentive payments bumped up his salary.
He is following the example of several other high-profile chief executives in bowing to investor pressure on executive remuneration.
The heads of global mining giants BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto, Marius Kloppers and Tom Albanese respectively, have also turned down bonuses.
Elsewhere, banking giants ANZ and Commonwealth have both frozen top executives’ salaries, the newspaper said.