ACSI's research claims Meij earned AUD$36.8 million in the financial year of 2017.
Domino's Pizza Enterprises issued a statement in response to the latest report by the Australian Council of Superannuation Investors (ACSI), which named Don Meij as the country's highest-paid CEO after taking home AUD$36.8 million of ‘realised pay’.
"Domino’s does not as a practice comment on executive remuneration. However, it is important to clarify that the amount quoted in the report as remuneration for Mr. Don Meij predominantly reflects the increase in the value of 600,000 share options granted in 2013 following shareholder approval and exercised by him in September 2016. These were linked to the achievement of significant long-term targets for the business over a period of three years," a Domino's spokesperson said.
According to the global pizza brand, underlying earnings per share more than tripled from 41.5c to 133.6c per share (a compound annual growth rate of 34.8%) over the time period.
"As reported to the market at the time of exercise of the share options, Mr. Meij retained 556,087 of the resulting shares, illustrating his commitment to the Company through an increase in his personal shareholding," the statement added.
In their report, ACSI explains that Meij acquired 900,000 shares from the beginning of the 2017 financial year. Over this period, he reportedly paid AUD $15.81 million to exercise his options, and sold shares worth AUD$53.11 million to fund option exercises, their impending tax liabilities and a divorce settlement.
ACSI commented that “persistent and increasing” bonus payments to Australia’s top chief executives are driving the remuneration to “record levels.”
“At a time when public trust in business is at a low ebb and wages growth is weak, board decision to pay large bonuses just for hitting budget targets rather than exceptional performance, are especially tone-deaf. This may be a sign that boards have lost sight of the link between a company’s social licence and the expectations of communities and investors,” ACSI CEO Louise Davidson said in a statement.
ACSI adds that the rise in bonus payments may lead to "further damaging community perceptions of business."
"We see a real prospect of regulatory intervention if the current trend continues," the report says.
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