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Mice Net : June 2009
Editor’s letter Where’s my CEO salary? I deserve more. No, I’ll rephrase that: I’m entitled to a larger “compensation” package than I currently receive. I’m the editor of a small but relatively successful magazine that is keeping its head above water almost 10 years since it began. My efforts, therefore, should certainly be worth something, and probably more than I currently get. And do you know why I know this? Because other heads of companies – okay I’m not the head of our little business but I know I could be – apparently receive far more than I do. And here’s the killer: they lose vast amounts of money for doing so! The CEO of Pacific Brands in Australia is “compensated” about $1.8 million per annum despite the company reporting an almost $150 million loss for the first six months of the 2008-9 financial year. Sue Morphett’s pay is a little more than Virgin Blue’s Brett Godfrey’s - $826,000 before he took a 30 per cent cut after announcing a $101 million loss for the six months to December 31, 2008 and announcing 400 jobs would be lost. (No doubt he will still be able to get by on close to $600,000 per annum.) And then there’s ABC Learning Centres’ Eddy Groves who was on $1.6 million when it was announced the company had a pre-tax loss of $437 million. To me these three examples sound frightfully rich but they really aren’t much chop when you hear about General Motors’ CEO, Rick Wagoner who is on $14.9 million per annum (a mix of cash and share options and other things). His big remuneration package comes at a time when GM recorded a $31 billion loss in 2008. Okay then, so back to me. Here I am, working hard, my kids in school, a mortgage, a dog that eats like a horse, bills coming at me left, right and centre, and working in a business that is bobbing along quite nicely. Nope, I don’t have a hell of a lot of management skills, no MBA, and I haven’t even seen Anthony Robbins. But you know what? Despite my experience or lack thereof, I solemnly believe that if I was put in charge of a big company with a big salary I could lose as much money as any of the CEOs I’ve just mentioned. And I’m sure if I really put my mind to it, I could lose even more than they have. If my pay packet was big enough I could probably – and this is just speculating now – be forced to have my managers make mass sackings, address shareholder meetings, take long lunches when I had to, endure annual European skiing holidays, and live in a salubrious suburb with poor public transport so that I would be forced to drive my company car to work each day... whatever it took. For $1 million, $2 million, $15 million – whatever my board members thought was fair enough compensation for my hard work – I could probably even try my hand at losing insane amounts of money for a bank. I wasn’t the best at maths in school but maybe that would be a help and not a hindrance. And so, as the global credit crunch continues to bite, I wait in hope that someone out there will see that I too can stuff up a business beyond belief. And that I should be rewarded handsomely for doing so. But if that doesn’t happen I have to admit that there is some comfort in the fact that I’m working in a dynamic industry that is less affected than many industries are right now. And there are 12 other people in our little office who, I imagine, are probably thinking much the same thing. MANAGING EDITOR email@example.com EDITORIAL ADVISORY BOARD Gary Bender World Conference & Incentive Management • Ian Walsh G1 Productions • Linda Gaunt MEA • Rosemarie Sama Reed Travel Exhibitions • Annabel Davis Sydney Convention & Exhibition Centre • Lynn Fairbrass Northern Territory Convention Bureau • Sharon Goldie MLC David Grant DGSE • Bryan Holliday ICMS Australasia Pty Ltd • Ruth Lilian • Ros McLeod Tour Hosts • Valerie Percival IBM Australia Limited Elizabeth Rich Agenda Pty Ltd NATIONAL ADVISORY BOARD Russell Bennett Staging Dimensions • Elizabeth Bindon-Bonney BT Create • Katie Clarke Congress West • Anna Guillan Voyages Hotels and Resorts • Suzanne Hart SHE • Peter Kinnane Off-Site Connections Event Management • David Hall David Hall & Associates • Sarah Markey-Hamm ICMS • Sarah Seddon Atlantic Group (V) • Anna Stewart Queensland Conventions & Incentives 4 mice.net