Westpac NZ chief gets 11 pc payrise

JAMES WEIR
Last updated 11:28 14/11/2012
peter clare
DON SCOTT/Fairfax NZ
MONEY MAN: Westpac NZ chief executive Peter Clare.

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Westpac New Zealand chief executive Peter Clare's total pay package is up almost 11 per cent in the past year to A$2.97 million ($3.8 million).

In the previous financial year Clare made a total of A$2.7m, including all cash, benefits, performance awards and share-based payments.

Clare is being paid significantly less than his predecessor in New Zealand, George Frazis, who had a pay package of $5.4m in 2011, making him almost certainly the top paid executive in the country.

As reported earlier this month, Westpac's NZ profit surged 22 per cent to $707m after-tax in the year to September 30, largely driven by a chunky $50m reduction in bad debts and strong balance sheet growth.

Australian-owned Westpac was the last major bank to report its full- year results, bringing the collective profits of the
"big four" to a staggering $3.4 billion.

The bank's annual report out today also shows Westpac's Australian parent company chief executive Gail Kelly earned a massive A$9.6m pay package in the past financial year, including cash, share, bonuses and other benefits.

Earlier a senior executive with Westpac in Australia, Clare took over at Westpac NZ in April this year, so his pay reflects half a year in Australia and half in New Zealand.

Clare replaced former high profile boss Frazis, who returned to Australia to lead Westpac offshoot, St George Bank.

Before he left after three years here, Frazis was one of the highest paid executives in New Zealand earning a total of $5.4m in the year to September 2011, the second year in a row his pay topped $5m.

This year, Clare's fixed remuneration dipped slightly in the September  year to A$973,964, from A$988,822 in the previous year.

His cash performance bonus was A$810,000 in the latest year, down from A$990,000 previously. The bonus relates to performance awards earned but not paid out in the actual year.

But Clare saw a big jump in non-cash benefits, worth A$158,423 for the year. That includes things like annual health checks, tax services, relocation costs, and living away from home expenses and allowances.

The balance was earned in shares, superannuation benefits and long service leave entitlements.

Kelly remains one of Australia's highest-paid bank bosses, eclipsing rivals at Commonwealth Bank and National Australia Bank.

Westpac's second-highest paid Australian executive was Rob Whitfield, its group executive, who received a total package of A$4.4m and cash bonus of A$1.3m.

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The release of remuneration details follows last week's flagging by Kelly of more job cuts at the bank. "I expect overall the numbers of staff to reduce next year, but probably not at quite the rate we had over the last few years," she said.

The bank has cut slightly more than 2000 full-time jobs in the past 12 months. More than 760 jobs were cut a year earlier.

- with the Sydney Morning Herald

- BusinessDay.co.nz

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