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Spierings Case Shows Excessive CEO Pay Isn't Justified

22nd March 2018

Spierings Case Shows Excessive CEO Pay Isn't Justified

It is scandalous that the highest paid CEO in New Zealand last year, Theo Spierings of Fonterra, has presided over one of the biggest losses in his company's history, said Peter Malcolm, spokesperson for the income equality project Closing the Gap.

The $8.3 million annual pay package for Mr. Spierings, who will leave Fonterra this year, highlights the ever-widening gap in New Zealand between CEO and worker pay — with CEOs earning 30 to 50 times more than the average wage, Mr. Malcolm said. Income inequality is bad for our country on many counts.

This year, Fonterra reported a $348 million loss over 6 months as a consequence of having to write down over $400 million in the value of their misjudged investment in a Chinese infant formula company, Beingmate.

"Company directors like to claim that high CEO salaries are justified by outstanding performance," Mr. Malcolm said. "But in the face of this disastrous financial result, the directors of Fonterra need to explain to Fonterra staff and shareholders — indeed, to New Zealand — why they paid Mr Spierings $8.3 million."

Mr. Malcolm said it was time company directors reflected on the damage they are doing to wider society by such poor decisions over performance and salaries.

"All New Zealanders will be horrified by the extravagant salary awarded Mr. Spierings in the face of his appalling performance."


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