At the Qantas annual general meeting held just last Friday, the day before Qantas suspended all its flights, CEO Alan Joyce was in line for a very substantial pay rise, subject to a shareholder vote.
While you and I may fume about the obscene amounts of money executives pay themselves, there is little else we can do but vent our anger, verbally or in writing.
It is not that Alan Joyce's payrise went unchallenged, with a shareholders association representative, who held many proxies, opposing the payrise and speaking passionately against the rise, as did individual shareholders.
The problem is a 'you scratch my back and I'll scratch yours'. This needs to be addressed by our lawmakers, as there is no limit to how high executive pays can go.
While smaller and not so small shareholders may not want to increase the CEO's pay by huge amounts, invariably the institutional shareholders do, they perhaps being your superannuation fund. Should Qantas have holding in a large company, at that company's AGM, Qantas would vote for the a payrise for the CEO. I am not sure that I want my bank and my superannuation fund to continue to do this. It is all very cozy and really needs to be smashed.
An argument is often put forth that you need to pay world prices for the best executives, rather that paying peanuts and getting monkeys. To me it seems we pay gold, and still get monkeys.