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What do the ASX board directors have in common?

  • May 01 2020
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What do the ASX board directors have in common?

By Cameron Micallef
May 01 2020

Being male, a Baby Boomer and holding a bachelor of arts or science is likely to progress your career further, based on the common traits of Australia’s board of directors, according to new research.

ASX board directors

What do the ASX board directors have in common?

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  • May 01 2020
  • Share

Being male, a Baby Boomer and holding a bachelor of arts or science is likely to progress your career further, based on the common traits of Australia’s board of directors, according to new research.

ASX board directors

A report from Apollo Communications has analysed the remuneration, credentials and independence of ASX board directors.

The 563 non-executive directors across the ASX 100 are reported to be paid a collective $176 million a year, or $1.76 million per company on average. As a group, the 100 largest ASX-listed companies are worth $1.7 trillion and employ up to 3 million workers.

The gender pay gap was prevalent in the ASX 100 boards, with male directors earning 20 per cent more on average than their female colleagues ($263,144 for the average male salary versus $218,696 for women). 

The director pay gap does narrow at the chair level, with male chairs earning 14.7 per cent more than female chairs on average ($502,516 versus $437,990). 

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Surprisingly, the report found that the most common degree for non-executive directors is a bachelor of arts, compared with a bachelor of science for CEOs.

The median age of directors is 60, with Apollo noting the “tail end of the Baby Boomer generation retains oversight of our corporate institutions”.

The best-paying ASX boards were found to not necessarily be with the largest companies – BHP topped board pay (third in market cap), followed by ResMed (51st by market cap), Macquarie (seventh in market cap), Rio Tinto (12th by market cap) and NAB (fifth in market cap).

The best-paid non-executive board director across the ASX 100 is Woolworths chair Gordon Cairns, who collects earnings of $1.8 million from directorships across Woolworths, Macquarie and Origin Energy. 

Apollo Communications CEO Adam Connolly said that by ranking the market capitalisation of all 100 ASX-listed companies, the report examines which boards and which industries are paid more or less than their market size dictates. 

“When board remuneration is ranked against company size, the top 10 best value boards in Australia are CSL, Newcrest Mining, Magellan Fin Group Ltd, Coles Group, GPT Group, Afterpay Touch, Xero Ltd, Sydney Airport, the a2 Milk Company and Sonic Healthcare,” Mr Connolly said. 

“In contrast, the top 10 highest remuneration-to-market-cap ratio boards in Australia are Virgin Money UK, AMP, Resmed, Bank of Queensland, Link Group, Star Entertainment Group, Soul Pattinson, Worley Parsons, James Hardie and Challenger.” 

Another observation he has is that the coronavirus outbreak will impact board activity, highlighting that the people on the board will likely make the decisions on the future of Australia post-crisis.

“One interesting outcome of Australia’s economic engagement with the world is the rise of the fly-in, fly-out board director, with one in five of Australia’s ASX-100 directors living offshore, and either phoning in for board discussions or attending in person. 

“In a world physically shut down by the coronavirus, telecommuting for board directors could become commonplace.”

What do the ASX board directors have in common?
ASX board directors
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About the author

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Cameron is a journalist for Momentum Media's nestegg and Smart Property Investment. He enjoys giving Aussies practical financial tips and tricks to help grow their wealth and achieve financial independence. As a self-confessed finance nerd, Cameron enjoys chatting with industry experts and commentators to leverage their insights to grow your portfolio.

About the author

Cameron is a journalist for Momentum Media's nestegg and Smart Property Investment. He enjoys giving Aussies practical financial tips and tricks to help grow their wealth and achieve financial independence. As a self-confessed finance nerd, Cameron enjoys chatting with industry experts and commentators to leverage their insights to grow your portfolio.

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