Insights Series

The MCCGR's flagship publication on contemporary issues and best practice in corporate governance.

CEO talent: Where do Australia's CEOs come from?

Ian D. Gow | Christopher R. Stewart

Observers frequently suggest that Australian companies operate in a global market for CEO talent. We dig deeper and try to answer a number of questions. Where do Australia’s largest companies find their CEOs? How often do Australia’s biggest public companies recruit CEOs from overseas? The answers to these questions have important implications. If Australian firms recruit CEOs from abroad, then CEO compensation will likely need to be commensurate with international standards. Furthermore, if Australian firms are highly dependent upon foreign sources for CEO talent, there may be a need to boost education and training, much of which is inevitably on the job, to increase the supply of corporate leaders for Australian companies.

12 Apr 2018

Cult of excess? A global perspective on CEO compensation

Ian D. Gow | James P. Kavourakis

Many argue that Australian executives are overpaid. However, reducing remuneration may curtail Australia’s access to high-quality managers from across the globe. To provide some preliminary evidence on the issue of CEO remuneration, we examine the CEO pay of leading Australian companies and compare with that of comparative CEOs globally. We focus on the compensation packages of CEOs from four significant Australian firms: Macquarie Group, Commonwealth Bank, CSL, and Woolworths Group. We choose these firms because of their prominence and their high level of CEO compensation of relative to other Australian firms. Further, Commonwealth Bank and CSL have registered strikes against their remuneration reports in recent years, and Woolworths and Macquarie have been reported to have key shareholders or proxy advisers threaten future dissent. Thus, all four firms may be likely candidates for excessive remuneration.

12 Apr 2018