Fairfax executive justifies $2.4m pay rise saying they back themselves to hit targets

Fairfax logoOne of four Fairfax executives who shared a $2.4m remuneration increase in the last financial year has justified the move by saying the “management was prepared to back itself to achieve set targets –  something the journalists are refusing to do”, after staff were offered a pay freeze.

Today’s full-year  financial report showed four execs – CEO Greg Hywood; Allen Williams, MD of the Australian publishing media division, chief financial officer David Housego;  and general counsel Gail Hambly – shared the extra remuneration with nearly $2m coming in the form of preference shares given to them for hitting targets.

However, in an email accidentally forwarded to journalists from a Fairfax PR consultant, Hambly said there had been no “base” pay rise for the executive saying:  “The increases are all incentive based”. The company today reported a full-year profit of $224m, based on the sale of digital assets, but showed steep declines in print revenues with only marginal gains in digital.

This afternoon MEAA union members at Fairfax were due to hold a stop work meeting to discuss a pay freeze offered to them by management, with Williams telling staff when they made the proposal “the best people should be paid more”.  Hambly’s comments came in an internal email chain via Fairfax’s PR consultant Sue Cato, who accidentally forwarded it to journalists when submitting a response on behalf of the company. The remuneration figure today showed Hambly herself got an extra $300,000 for a total remuneration package of $1.063m this year. Her full response to Cato read:

“Of course the aggressive response is that the increases are all incentive based- ie the management was prepared to back itself to achieve set targets- something the journalists are refusing to do. There were NO base pay increases.”

Hywood was granted an extra $900,000, Housego $841,000.  Williams, who was only elevated to a “key management personnel” position last April, received a total remuneration package of $1.196m. Earlier the MEAA told Mumbrella the pool shared by the four execs was more than that offered to 600 staff in metropolitan news rooms.


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