He may be slashing the business to the bone – prompting a seven day walkout by staff – however, it hasn’t impacted on Fairfax CEO Greg Hywood’s take-home pay, with reports he snared a whopping $7.2 million in 2016.
It’s understood that Hywood’s pay – reported in the company’s annual report – is around the $2.7 million-mark including shares and bonuses. Not bad for a former business journalist. Hywood is also bonused via a share scheme – which isn’t reported – and an investigation by The Guardian Australia has suggested that bonus saw Hywood take home the staggering $7.2 million last year.
According to The Guardian, Hywood was bonused eight million share options last year, however, he cashed them out in August for a windfall of $5.6 million.
There is no suggestion that there is anything untoward with the Hywood deal and, if true, would make him easily the highest paid media executive in Australia.
What is worrying is that many pundits believe Fairfax bosses make many of their decisions – including cutting 125 journalists from newsrooms last week – to keep the share price up and their bonuses big.
Media commentator Michael West wrote on his blog site over the weekend that Hywood was among four senior Fairfax executives that were “secretly gifted $6.7 million in share options” in a “sneaky pay deal”.
The Guardian noted: “But while Hywood had been issued 8 million options under the incentive package – which was linked to achieving 15 per cent cost reductions in the company – there were another 8m options not issued, but which Hywood had the right to.
“The Fairfax annual report filed a day before the options vested showed all 16 million were available to Hywood and none were forfeited.”