BRW Executive Rich list 2014: the 100 wealthiest bosses in Australia

Published 31 March 2014 09:04, Updated 01 April 2014 09:52

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BRW Executive Rich list 2014: the 100 wealthiest bosses in Australia

Rupert Murdoch remains atop the BRW Executive Rich list. Photo: Tamara Dean

If it feels like your boss is becoming rich more quickly than you are, then you are probably right. The BRW Executive Rich list of the 100 wealthiest bosses of ASX-listed companies shows that the people running big companies are growing their wealth at a much faster rate than other shareholders.

It’s been a relatively good 12 months for Australian equity markets, with the S&P/ASX 200 rising more than 4.9 per cent since March last year. But that rise seems decidedly modest when you consider the wealth of the top 100 executives of S&P/ASX 200 companies is up by 16.7 per cent over the same period.

The average annual remuneration is $3.2 million, up from $2.7 million last year. Andrew Clifford from Platinum Asset Management recorded the largest rise in remuneration of 233 per cent.

The BRW Executive Rich list ranks executive directors and senior managers of listed companies by the value of their ordinary shareholdings in the companies they manage. Their performance determines the performance of the top 200 companies on the ASX and, indirectly, the fortunes of everyone with a superannuation account or a share trading account.

Here are this year’s top 100.

1. RUPERT MURDOCH

Value of shares: $12.61 billion

2013 value: $9.13 billion

Company: Twenty-First Century Fox Inc & News Corporation

Role: chairman and chief executive

Total remuneration: $31,677,127

The split of News Corporation has been lucrative for its biggest shareholder, Rupert Murdoch. Since last year’s separation, News’s TV and film operations have traded as Twenty-First Century Fox Inc and the publishing business as News Corporation. Murdoch took control of Australian company News Limited in 1954 following the death of his father, Sir Keith Murdoch. Since then, he has grown the company into a global media conglomerate making key acquisitions such as The Times, HarperCollins in 1980, Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation in 1985 and Dow Jones & Company in 2007. The recent elevation of his son, Lachlan, to the co-chairmanship of both companies does not lead to Lachlan joining this list. Both roles are non-executive positions, which means he is ineligible. Rupert’s other son, James, qualifies in 22nd place.

2. JAMES PACKER

Value of shares: $6.24 billion

2013 value: $4.34 billion

Company: Crown Resorts

Role: chairman

Total remuneration: $0

James Packer has grown his casino operations into one of Australia’s largest resort and entertainment groups. Crown Resorts has assets and investments in Melbourne, Perth, Macau and London. Crown’s new and upcoming ventures are in the Barangaroo development in Sydney and in Colombo, Sri Lanka. Crown’s share price is up over 45 per cent since last year. Packer’s Macau joint venture, Melco Crown, reported a 46 per cent rise in earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortisation in February, and stated it would start paying dividends in 2014.

James PackerPhoto: Rob Homer

3. KERR NEILSON

Value of shares: $2.37 billion

2013 value: $1.64 billion

Company: Platinum Asset Management

Role: managing director

Total remuneration: $439,532

Kerr Neilson started Platinum Asset Management in 1994, after a stint as executive vice-president at Bankers Trust. He is still chief executive of the company, after stepping down as the chief investment officer in May last year. Neilson was born in Johannesburg, South Africa and developed his finance career both in London and Johannesburg before moving to Sydney. One of Neilson’s early investors was legendary investor George Soros. Platinum shares have risen more than 45 per cent since last year. It manages about $23 billion in 12 funds, mostly invested in global equities. The flagship Platinum International Fund was up 12.7 per cent for the six months to January 31.

4. KERRY STOKES

Value of shares: $1.78 billion

2013 value: $2.30 billion

Company: Seven Group Holdings

Role: executive chairman

Total remuneration: $350,000

Kerry Stokes controls about two-thirds of media company Seven Group. Apart from his media holdings, he has interests in property, mining and construction equipment businesses. Stokes’s early wealth came from the development of shopping centres in Western Australia. His media interests started with the development of the Golden West Network in Western Australia. In 1996, he acquired a 19 per cent stake in Seven Network and grew his stake from there. Seven Group shares are down 22.5 per cent. The company’s half-year net profit rose by 2.8 per cent for the period to December 2013, but revenue slipped by 41.7 per cent.

5. DAVID TEOH

Value of shares: $1.62 billion

2013 value: $743.6 million

Company: TPG Telecom

Role: executive chairman

Total remuneration: $2,054,357

The highly reclusive David Teoh started TPG in 1992 as a computer sales business but later moved into the internet and mobile services sector. TPG has become a major player in the Australian market through a series of acquisitions. It listed on the ASX through a reverse takeover of SP Telemedia in 2008. One of its latest acquisition is telecommunications company AAPT for $450 million. TPG’s share price rose 117.6 per cent for the year. TPG is also rolling out its own fibre network to compete with the NBN.

6. GERRY HARVEY

Value of shares: $1.02 billion

2013 value: $818.2 million

Company: Harvey Norman Holdings

Role: executive chairman

Total remuneration: $1,029,300

Although Harvey Norman shares are up 25 per cent this year, Gerry Harvey falls out of the top five on this year’s list. Harvey co-founded retail chain Harvey Norman with Ian Norman in 1961 and remains its executive chairman. The retailer bounced back this financial year with a 36 per cent rise in net profit for the half year to December 31. Most of the gains came from the revaluation of its property portfolio. Harvey holds a 29.5 per cent stake in the company.

Gerry HarveyPhoto: Rob Homer

7. GRAHAM TURNER

Value of shares: $805.7 million

2013 value: $494.6 million

Company: Flight Centre Travel Group

Role: managing director

Total remuneration: $883,304

Graham Turner is one of the biggest risers on the list this year with his wealth jumping 63 per cent. Turner started Flight Centre in 1981 with Geoff Harris and Bill James, after selling his earlier venture, Topdeck Travel. The travel agency operator reported record profits with a 22 per cent rise in first half-year net profit for 2014. The Australian operations were a big contributor to the results, even though the Australian dollar has fallen from its previous highs.

8. LEN AINSWORTH

Value of shares: $700.8 million

2013 value: $670.4 million

Company: Ainsworth Game Technology

Role: executive chairman

Total remuneration: $280,000

Len Ainsworth is the oldest executive on the list at 90 years. He built his first gaming machine in 1953 and has since founded companies Aristocrat Leisure and Ainsworth Game Technology. Ainsworth Game Technology makes 35 per cent of Australia’s new gaming machines. Its share price is up moderately at 11 per cent and Ainsworth has sold more than 10.4 million in the company over the year.

Len AinsworthPhoto: Sasha Woolley

9. SILVIU ITESCU

Value of shares: $378.1 million

2013 value: $439.5 million

Company: Mesoblast

Role: chief executive

Total remuneration: $1,748,070

Silviu Itescu, a recognised scientist in the field of stem cell biology, auto-immune diseases and organ transplantation, founded Mesoblast in 2004. Mesoblast is commercialising stem-cell research and developing a range of treatments that provide alternatives to traditional drugs. Itescu owns more than 21 per cent of Mesoblast. Other significant investors in the company include US biopharmaceutical company Cephalon and Pratt family investment company Thorney Holdings. Mesoblast shares are down 14 per cent from last year.

10. ROD JONES

Value of shares: $340.3 million

2013 value: $265.8 million

Company: Navitas

Role: chief executive

Total remuneration: $1,039,684

Rod Jones co-founded education provider Navitas in 1994 with Peter Larsen. It listed on the ASX in 2004 and today has colleges in 28 countries. It is a leading education provider for international students in Australia and employs more than 4000 staff. English language courses are a main area of concentration for the company. Shares in Navitas have risen more than 52 per cent, although 2014 half-year profits were flat. In May last year, Jones sold over 8.5 million shares, pocketing $48.5 million from the transaction. Apart from Navitas, Jones has investments in the resources sector. This year he breaks into the top 10 on the Executive Rich list after placing 14th last year.

Rod JonesPhoto: Jessica Shapiro

11. CHRIS ELLISON

Value of shares: $309.0 million

2013 value: $300.4 million

Company: Mineral Resources

Role: managing director

Total remuneration: $933,377

Chris Ellison is the second-largest shareholder in Mineral Resources with a 15 per cent stake. Mineral Resources, a mining services company, was founded in 1993 and listed on the ASX in 2006. New Zealand-born Ellison migrated to Australia in the 1970s, working in construction in Darwin and Karratha before moving to West Australia. The first company he started was Karratha Rigging in 1979. In 1992, he started PIHA, now known as Mineral Resources.

12. TONY POLI

Value of shares: $288.2 million

2013 value: $304.9 million

Company: Aquila Resources

Role: executive chairman

Total remuneration: $1,575,000

Tony Poli is a former accountant-turned mine developer. After selling his first mining venture, Eagle Mining Corp, he used the proceeds to start Aquila Resources with Charles Bass. Aquila Resources is involved in the exploration and development of coal, iron ore and manganese resources.

Tony PoliRoss Swanborough

13. ANDREW BASSAT

Value of shares: $242.5 million

2013 value: $134.3 million

Company: Seek

Role: chief executive

Total remuneration: $3,916,754

Andrew Bassat co-founded online job marketplace SEEK with his brother Paul Bassat in 1997. Seek shares are up 75 per cent as it pursues an Asian expansion strategy. Its 2014 half-year results showed a 38 per cent rise in revenue and a 29 per cent rise in net profit. In 2013, Bassat won the E&Y entrepreneur of the year award.

14. ANDREW CLIFFORD

Value of shares: $241.6 million

2013 value: $167.1 million

Company: Platinum Asset Management

Role: chief investment officer

Total remuneration: $1,786,330

Andrew Clifford was a founding member of Kerr Neilson’s funds management business Platinum Asset Management. He was previously a vice-president at Bankers Trust Australia. In May 2013, Clifford took over the role of chief investment officer from Neilson. Clifford’s shareholding in the company remains the same this year but Platinum shares are up 45 per cent since last year. He also recorded the biggest rise in remuneration on the list, with a jump of 233 per cent.

15. GRAHAM BURKE

Value of shares: $153.0 million

2013 value: $101.7 million

Company: Village Roadshow

Role: co-executive chairman

Total remuneration: $3,927,381

Graham Burke is co-chairman and co-chief executive at Village Roadshow, which he runs with fellow list member Robert Kirby. Burke has been chief executive of the company since 1988 and previously co-founded Roadshow Distributors and radio station 2Day FM. Village shares are up 56 per cent. Among his numerous experiences in the entertainment industry, he served four years as the commissioner of the Australian Film Commission.

16. ROBERT KIRBY

Value of shares: $153.0 million

2013 value: $101.7 million

Company: Village Roadshow

Role: co-executive chairman

Total remuneration: $2,656,630

Robert Kirby serves as co-chairman and co-chief executive of Village Roadshow and is considered key to its diversification into theme parks, radio and international film production. Village Roadshow has had a tough first half for 2014, with net profits down 46 per cent and revenue growth flat 0.2 per cent. The decline in profits is partly attributed to costs associated with the opening of Wet’n’Wild Sydney.

17. HAMISH DOUGLASS

Value of shares: $148.2 million

2013 value: $78.9 million

Company: Magellan Financial Group

Role: chief executive

Total remuneration: $1,159,101

Co-founder of Magellan Financial Group, Hamish Douglass has experienced an 87.8 per cent rise in his shareholdings this year. As of February 2014, the company managed more than $22.7 billion with the majority of the allocation in international equities; 2014 half-year net profits recorded a rise of 138 per cent. Before starting Magellan, Douglass was co-head of global banking at Deutsche Bank in Australia.

Hamish DouglassPhoto: Tamara Voninski

18. PETER MEURS

Value of shares: $129.5 million

2013 value: $117.6 million

Company: Fortescue Metals Group

Role: executive director

Total remuneration: $8,145,544

Peter Meurs is in charge of all development functions at Fortescue Metals Group. He joined Fortescue in May 2010 after having served as the managing director of WorleyParsons Australia & New Zealand. Part of Meurs’s responsibilities is Fortescue’s 100 million tonne per annum expansion target. Meurs is one of the highest-paid executives on the list, with a remuneration of $8.1 million.

19. TONY ALFORD

Value of shares: $101.8 million

2013 value: $81.5 million

Company: Retail Food Group

Role: chief executive

Total remuneration: $716,000

Tony Alford started as an adviser for Retail Food Group in 1994 and took the role of financial controller in 1996. Before Retail Food Group, Alford was an accountant with his own private practice. He was appointed to the role of managing director in 1999. Alford’s wealth is up, due to a 24 per cent rise in Retail Food Group.

20. EDMUND BATEMAN

Value of shares: $97.4 million

2013 value: $182.3 million

Company: Primary Health Care

Role: managing director

Total remuneration: $1,500,000

Edmund Bateman was a founding member of medical centre operator Primary Health Care. The value of his shareholdings is down 46.6 per cent – not because of a drop in the Primary Health Care share price but because of the disposal of more than 16 million shares by Bateman in 2013. The disposal is part of his pledge to give away $85 million to charity. Bateman established Primary Health Care in the 1980s.

21 TO 100

21. Steve Wyatt, Mineral Resources, general manager, Crushing Services International, $89.5m

22. James Murdoch, Twenty-First Century Fox Inc, deputy chief operating officer, $86.0m

23. Jonathan Stewart, Aurora Oil & Gas, executive chairman, $81.7m

24. Nicholas Moore, Macquarie Group, chief executive, $79.8m

25. Roger Brown, ARB Corporation, executive chairman, $65.6m

26. Gail Kelly, Westpac Banking Corp, chief executive, $58.5m

27. Greg Roebuck, Carsales.com, managing director, $57.0m

28. Katie Page, Harvey Norman Hldgs, chief executive, $55.4m

29. Bob Gavranich, Mineral Resources, general manager, PIHA, $46.8m

30. Christopher Rex, Ramsay Health Care, chief executive, $46.3m

31. Chua Sock Koong, Singapore Telecommunications, group chief executive, $44.1m

32. Christopher Roberts, Cochlear, chief executive, $42.4m

33. Richard Goyder, Wesfarmers, chief executive, $41.9m

34. Chris Kelaher, Ioof Holdings, managing director, $41.9m

35. Eric Streitberg, Buru Energy, executive director, $36.2m

36. Vaughan Bowen, M2 Telecommunications Group, executive director, $33.9m

37. Robert Velletri, Monadelphous Group, managing director, $33.8m

38. Karl Simich, Sandfire Resources NL, chief executive, $33.1m

39. Andrew Brown, ARB Corporation, managing director, $32.9m

40. Bob Hosking, Karoon Gas Australia, executive chairman, $32.5m

41. John Rubino, Monadelphous Group, executive chairman, $32.5m

42. Don Meij, Domino’s Pizza Enterprises, managing director, $32.2m

43. Michael Smith, ANZ Banking Group, chief executive, $30.1m

44. Ken MacKenzie, Amcor, chief executive, $28.0m

45. John Forsyth, ARB Corporation, executive director, $26.6m

46. Bernie Brookes, Myer Holdings, chief executive, $24.7m

47. Andrew Grech, Slater & Gordon, managing director, $24.3m

48. Kenneth Fowlie, Slater & Gordon, executive director, $23.4m

49. Richard Leupen, UGL, chief executive, $23.3m

50. Mark Clark, Regis Resources, managing director, $22.8m

51. John Paine*, TPG Telecom, national technical and strategy manager, $21.5m

52. John Gillam, Wesfarmers, managing director, home improvement and office supplies, $20.2m

53. Shemara Wikramanayake*, Macquarie Group, group head, Macquarie Funds Group, $19.5m

54. Terence Bowen, Wesfarmers, finance director, $18.8m

55. Cameron Clyne, National Australia Bank, group chief executive officer, $18.5m

56. David Geraghty, Mineral Resources, technical director, $18.4m

57. Peter Botten*, Oil Search, managing director, $18.3m

58. Gary Stafford, PanAust, managing director, $17.9m

59. Christopher Wilks*, Sonic Healthcare, finance director, $17.5m

60. Terry Smart*, JB Hi-Fi, chief executive, $17.4m

61. Barry Irvin*, Bega Cheese, executive chairman, $16.7m

62. Paul Weightman, Cromwell Property Group, chief executive, $16.3m

63. Bill Beament, Northern Star Resources, managing director, $16.3m

64. Guy Russo, Wesfarmers, managing director, Kmart, $15.8m

65. Peter Birtles, Super Retail Group, managing director, $15.8m

66. Mark Joiner, National Australia Bank, chief financial officer, $15.4m

67. Rob Whitfield*, Westpac Banking Corp, group executive, Westpac Institutional Bank, $14.9m

68. Grant King, Origin Energy, managing director, $14.6m

69. Doug Rathbone, Nufarm, chief executive, $14.0m

70. Nigel Morrison*, SkyCity Entertainment Group, chief executive, $13.9m

71. Bruce Soden*, Ramsay Health Care, finance director, $13.2m

72. Karen Wood*, BHP Billiton, general manager, $13.1m

73. Maurice James*, Qube Holdings, managing director, $13.1m

74. Bronte Howson, Automotive Holdings Group, managing director, $13.0m

75. Peter Edwards*, Cover-More Group, chief executive, $13.0m

76. Colin Goldschmidt*, Sonic Healthcare, managing director, $12.9m

77. Andrew Wood, WorleyParsons, chief executive, $12.6m

78. Trevor Johnson, Cardno, executive director, $11.5m

79. Michael Fraser*, AGL Energy, chief executive, $11.4m

80. Michael Wilkins, Insurance Australia Group, chief executive, $11.3m

81. Brian Hodges, Bradken, chief executive, $10.0m

82. Peter Bowler, Beadell Resources, managing director, $9.8m

83. Nerida Campbell*, Magellan Financial Group, chief operating officer, $9.0m

84. Peter Dunai*, Iress, chairman, $8.2m

85. John Borshoff, Paladin Energy, managing director, $8.2m

86. Colin Jackson*, Sonic Healthcare, executive director, $8.1m

87. Michael Kay, McMillan Shakespeare, chief executive, $8.1m

88. Greg Kilmister*, ALS, chief executive, $8.0m

89. Grahame Petersen*, Commonwealth Bank Australia, group executive, business and private banking, $7.8m

90. Mark Smith, Karoon Gas Australia, executive director, $7.6m

91. Arif Erdash, Monadelphous Group, executive general manager of Maintenance & Industrial Services, $7.5m

92. Mike Hirst*, Bendigo and Adelaide Bank, managing director, $7.5m

93. David Craig*, Commonwealth Bank Australia, group executive of financial services and chief financial officer, $7.4m

94. Lance Hockridge*, Aurizon Holdings, chief executive, $7.4m

95. David Southon*, Charter Hall Group, joint managing director, $7.4m

96. David Harrison*, Charter Hall Group, joint managing director, $7.2m

97. David Robb*, Iluka Resources, chief executive, $7.2m

98. Michael Harte*, Commonwealth Bank Australia, group executive of enterprise services and chief information officer, $7.0m

99. Iain Ross*, WorleyParsons, group managing director of development, $6.9m

100. Stewart Butel*, Wesfarmers, managing director of Wesfarmers Resources, $6.7m

* Debuts and re-entries

** Total remuneration figures sourced from The Australian Financial Review Executive Salary Database 2013 (www.fairfaxbr.com)

Additional research: Andrew Heathcote, Nick McKenna and Mitchell Bissinger.

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