Hughes’ and Bailey’s $6m Photon payments don’t tell the whole story

As we reported earlier today, Tim Hughes has departed Photon Group’s board, not long after relinquishing the chairmanship.  

The move comes as the company continues its fight for survival through a recapitalisation.

Those who have been following the story will be aware that CEO Matt Bailey departed the scene shortly before the mess exploded into the public domain.

Photon Group’s annual reports are easily available. An interesting disclosure is how much both of them were paid. The numbers below do not take into account the large number of shares each received.

Directors’ and executive officers’ cash and post‑employment and other long term remuneration – (Company and consolidated):

Tim Hughes:

  • 2010 – not yet disclosed
  • 2009 – $1,078,745
  • 2008 – $578,129
  • 2007 – $212,686
  • 2006 – $162,139
  • 2005 – $161,585
  • 2004 – $81,125

Total = $2,112,270

Matt Bailey

  • 2010 – not yet disclosed
  • 2009 – $1,110,807
  • 2008 – $899,251
  • 2007 – $659,748
  • 2006 – $556471
  • 2005 – $456,870
  • 2004 – $107,912

Total = $3,791,059

That might look like a lot to most of us, including anyone who has lost their job at a Photon Group company in recent months. But one thing that stands out is that by my read, Hughes’ cash salary was relatively modest by ASX executive chairman standards, and he took most of his remuneration as shares. Bailey was rather more convenonally rewarded.

That suggests to me that foolish as it may have been, Hughes genuinely believed in the company’s structure and did not expect things to end up where they are, which is likely to see the value of his current shareholding wiped out by the fundraising.

As the Sydney Morning Herald reported, Bailey and his mother sold most of their shares in Photon Group just before things went south, for about $5m. As the paper puts it: “talk about lucky timing”.

Arguably though, Hughes is another victim of this mess.

Tim Burrowes


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