Highest earning CEOs in Australia - Brad Banducci, Woolworths Group (L), Shemara Wikramanayake, Macquarie Group (M), Mike Farrell, ResMed (R) | Image: Man of Many

20 Highest Earning CEOs in Australia Revealed

Chief executives at the nation’s biggest companies are earning upwards of 55 times that of the average Australian worker, according to data from the Australian Council of Superannuation Investors (ACSI). A 2023 report from the governance adviser found that CEO pay at the 100 largest listed firms averaged $5.2 million in the 2022 financial year, dwarfing the average full-time worker’s annual pre-tax income of $92,029.60 per annum. When it comes to the highest-earning CEOs in Australia, however, the top 20 are in a league of their own, with a healthcare entrepreneur leading the pack.

RankCEOCompanyRealised Pay1yr TSR5yr TSR (pa)
1Mick FarrellResMed$47,138,147-5.9%26%
2Greg GoodmanGoodman Group$44,337,989-14.5%20.3%
3Robert ThomsonNews Corporation$35,153,533-29.7%5.2%
4Alex DorschChalice Mining$17,875,356-49.1%90.7%
5Shemara WikramanayakeMacquarie Group$17,565,61537.8%22.6%
6Paul PerreaultCSL$17,376,176-4.6%15.6%
7Mike HenryBHP Group$16,313,6416.8%23.3%
8Ron DeliaAmcor$14,233,51224%6.8%
9Chris EllisonMineral Resources$12,685,728-7.3%40%
10Jason Huljich & John McBainCenturia Capital $10,730,981-31.9%13.8%
11Brad BanducciWoolworths Group $10,640,763-4.3%12.9%
12Ian MacounPinnacle Investment Management$10,190,329-39.7%22.9%
13Colin GoldschmidtSonic Healthcare$10,091,734-11.9%9.6%
14Phil RyanCity Chic Collective$9,659,172-66.7%36.9%
15Rob ScottWesfarmers$8,892,306-24.2%14%
16Thomas BeregiCredit Corp$8,555,599-30.1%5.6%
17David HarrisonCharter Hall Group$8,368,899-28.2%18.6%
18Kevin GallagherSantos$7,747,83916.6%7.7%
19Sandeep BiswasNewcrest Mining$7,657,399-15.2%2.2%
20Jim ClaytonBreville Group$7,599,894-39.2%13.6%
20 highest-paid ASX200 CEOs on a realised-pay basis in FY22 (includes ‘foreign company’ CEOs) | Data: ACSI

According to the latest data from the Australian Council of Superannuation Investors’ (ACSI) CEO Pay in ASX200 Companies report, ResMed CEO Mick Farrell is the highest-earning CEO in Australia for this year. As the Australian head of the San Diego, California-based medical equipment company, Mick Farrell earned a whopping $47,138,147 in FY22, courtesy of equity vesting and options. Coming in second was Goodman Group CEO Greg Goodman, who followed in the footsteps of Afterpay founders, Anthony Eisen and Nick Molnar. According to the report Goodman had the highest realised pay outcome for a domestic CEO with $44.34 million, which marks the largest since Buy Now-Pay Later legends Eisen and Molnar cashed out with their record $264.2 million in FY21.

More locally, Brad Banducci’s salary hit soaring heights, with the Woolworths head reportedly earning around $10.6 million in FY22, however, he isn’t likely to stay on the list. Following a “trainwreck” interview on ABC’s Four Corners program that saw him storm out after being grilled over allegations of price gouging the long-term CEO announced his resignation from the Woolworths Group. He will undoubtedly receive a monumental payout, however, his earnings will shift to the private sector, removing him from the ACSI’s CEO Pay in ASX200 Companies report for future years. So, who else made the list and how much money do the highest-paid CEOs in Australia actually make?

Highest Earning CEOs in Australia

With Afterpay the standout performer in 2024, it’s time to take a look at just how much the other big names in business, finance, mining and travel fared this year. Here is a list of the highest-paid CEOs in Australia for 2024, as unveiled by the ACSI.

3 mick farrell resmed
Mick Farrell, ResMed | Image: ResMed

1. Mick Farrell, ResMed (AUD$47,138,147)

  • Business: ResMed
  • Industry: Medical
  • Earnings: $47,138,147
  • Birthdate: 1975
  • Birthplace: San Diego, USA

The highest-paid CEO in Australia this year is Mick Farrell, CEO of ResMed, a California-based medical equipment company. It provides cloud-connectable medical devices for the treatment of sleep apnea, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and other respiratory conditions. It’s no secret the need for this equipment peaked during the pandemic, which may be why Farrell has raked in so much cash. According to ACSI, this was the first year in a while that Farrell did not receive the “highest level of realised pay in the ‘foreigner’ sample and the link between a US domicile, or influence, and high levels of pay was clear”. That honour went to Goodman Group’s Greg Goodman, however, we doubt Farrell is too concerned about losing his title.

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Greg Goodman, Goodman Group

2. Greg Goodman, Goodman Group (AUD$44,337,989)

  • Business: Goodman Group
  • Industry: Property
  • Earnings: $44,337,989
  • Birthdate: 1966
  • Birthplace: Sydney, Australia

Another impressive Australian CEO salary is that of Greg Goodman, CEO of the aptly named Goodman Group, a global industrial property group that owns, develops and manages industrial real estate in 14 countries across the world. A long-time figure in the world of property bosses, Goodman is doing better than ever, managing to take home a whopping AUD $44.3 million this year, the highest realised pay outcome for a domestic CEO, up from the $37.11mn he realised in FY21. Remarkably, Goodman’s FY22 pay was still short of the FY21 records set by Afterpay’s co-CEOs Anthony Eisen & Nick Molnar, who realised $264.2mn, and the $58.91mn of CSL’s now-departed chief Paul Perreault.

5 robert thomson news corporation
Robert Thomson, News Corporation

3. Robert Thomson, News Corporation (AUD$35,153,533)

  • Business: News Corporation
  • Industry: Media
  • Earnings: $35,153,533
  • Birthdate: 1961
  • Birthplace: New York, USA

Like death and taxes, it’s somewhat inevitable that you’ll see the head of a media giant make an entry in the list of the highest-earning CEOs in Australia. NewsCorp CEO Robert Thomson is precisely that man. An experienced Aussie journo turned millionaire, Murdoch’s man has ensured that the global giant maintains its tenure as the world’s most prolific media and publishing company. Oh, and he made a cheeky AUD$35.1 million doing it. According to a News Corporation 2022 proxy statement obtained by ACSI, Thomson’s realised $35.15 million included a cash bonus of USD$8.13 million and salary and benefits worth USD$3.5 million

7 alex dorsch chalice mining
Alex Dorsch, Chalice Mining | Image: Chalice Mining

4. Alex Dorsch, Chalice Mining (AUD$17,875,356)

  • Business: Chalice Mining
  • Industry: Mining
  • Earnings: $17,875,356
  • Birthdate: 1987
  • Birthplace: Perth, Australia

Mining magnate and one of the highest earning CEOs in Australia for 2024, Alex Dorsch made his fortune from a rather old-school industry, a rare feat among the up-and-coming self-made entrepreneurs also making the list. As the ACSI report outlines, Dorsch ranked second highest for realised pay in FY22 at $17.88 million – just ahead of Macquarie Group CEO Shemara Wikramanayake’s $17.57 million. This follows a stellar few years for the entrepreneur that included the March 2021 exercising of 4.4 million options with average exercise prices of $0.17 when the share price was $4.40, a move that netted him millions.

Shemara Wikramanayake, Macquarie Group | Image: Macquarie Group
Shemara Wikramanayake, Macquarie Group | Image: Macquarie Group

5. Shemara Wikramanayake, Macquarie Group (AUD$17,565,615)

  • Business: Macquarie Group
  • Industry: Banking
  • Earnings: $17,565,615
  • Birthdate: 1962
  • Location: Sydney, Australia

Finally, a woman makes the list. The highest-earning female CEO, Shemara Wikramanayake is an Australian businesswoman with a career as a lawyer and a banker. The daughter of migrants, she became the managing director and CEO of Macquarie Group Ltd in 2018 and has succeeded immensely, courtesy of a trademark optimistic outlook and charismatic approach to leadership. According to the information available, in FY21, the Macquarie Group CEO was the highest-paid CEO on a reported-pay basis – that is, pay calculated under Australia’s disclosure rule, and she has continued to rake in the cash. In FY22, she earned a whopping $17,565,615, making her good for fifth on the list.

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Paul Perreault, CSL | Image: CSL

6. Paul Perreault, CSL (AUD$17,376,176)

  • Business: CSL
  • Industry: Biotechnology
  • Earnings: $17,376,176
  • Birthdate: 1959
  • Birthplace: Utah, USA

Coming in sixth place is Paul Perreault, the now-departed head of Australian specialty biotechnology company, CSL. In recent years, the most significant contributor to his personal wealth growth was CSL’s contract win at the hands of the federal government, which saw the company licensed to produce the AstraZeneca Covid vaccine in Australia at an undisclosed (code for monstrous) price. This year marks the first in a while that the CSL CEO hasn’t achieved realised pay above $30 million, with Perreault last claiming that in FY21, when he exercised his last legacy options, with exercise prices of $107.25, when the share price was $292.

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15 mike henry bhp group
Mike Henry, BHP Group | Image: BHP Group

7. Mike Henry, BHP Group (AUD$16,313,641)

  • Business: BHP Group
  • Industry: Mining
  • Earnings: $16,313,641
  • Birthdate: 1966
  • Birthplace: Melbourne, Australia

Canadian-born businessman Mike Henry became CEO of BHP in 2020 and his high-earning status can be credited to a 30-year run in the global resources industry. After being with BHP since 2003, his leadership roles have spanned operational, commercial, and technical, indicating he has been an inspirational leader for the company. What’s more, he’s been a savvy stakeholder.

As the report outlines, the face value of the long-term incentive (LTI) grant made to BHP’s Henry in FY17, when he was not yet CEO, was $5 million. When it vested in full in August 2021 it was worth $9.18 million (excluding $1.63 million in dividend equivalent payments received on vesting). In FY22, Henry reportedly earned a cool $16,313,641, good enough for seventh on the list of highest-earning CEOs in Australia. He was just one of four CEOs that had cash pay above $4 million: alongside Wikramanayake, Perreault and Sonic Healthcare’s Colin Goldschmidt

12 ron delia amcor
Ron Delia, Amcor | Image: Amcor

8. Ron Delia, Amcor (AUD$14,233,512)

  • Business: Amcor
  • Industry: Packaging
  • Earnings: $14,233,512
  • Birthdate: 1972
  • Birthplace: Zurich, Switzerland

Ron Delia joined Amcor in 2005 and made his way up the ranks to CEO in 2015 to become the eighth highest earning CEO in Australia this year. Despite the fact that Delia is the head of a North American-based company, the Amcor chief remains eligible due to his current Australian operations role, which reportedly saw him realise pay above $10mn in FY22 with his $14.23mn including US$4.4mn in salary, benefits and bonuses. Just 43 when he stepped into the role, he is a leading example of a young businessman making a fresh mark in a company over 100 years old.

17 chris ellison mineral resources
Chris Ellison, Mineral Resources | Image: Mineral Resources

9. Chris Ellison, Mineral Resources (AUD$12,685,728)

  • Business: Mineral Resources
  • Industry: Mining
  • Earnings: $12,685,728
  • Birthdate: 1957
  • Birthplace: Perth, Australia

Long-time West Australian mining entrepreneur Chris Ellison joined the nation’s billionaire’s club after shares in his Mineral Resources hit a record high in 2020. He is also the founding shareholder of each of the three original subsidiary companies of Mineral Resources. In FY22, the mining magnate secured a whopping $12,685,728 in earnings, courtesy of a remarkably profitable year from the sector.

Centuria Capital joint CEOs John McBain (L) and Jason Huljich (R) | Image: Centuria Capital
Centuria Capital joint CEOs John McBain (L) and Jason Huljich (R) | Image: Centuria Capital

10. Jason Huljich & John McBain, Centuria Capital (AUD$10,730,981)

  • Business: Centuria Capital
  • Industry: Finance
  • Earnings: $10,730,981
  • Location: Sydney, Australia

After founding Centuria Capital together over 25 years ago, John McBain and Jason Huljich have steadily become some of the nation’s top earners. The SX-listed specialist investment company oversees more than $20 billion of assets, and they looked primed to stay on this list for some time. The joint CEOs have an in-built succession plan, with McBain, who has been CEO of the group for 21 years, already working to bring the younger Huljich into the box seat solo when the time comes.

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Brad Banducci, Woolworths Group | Image: Woolworths Group

11. Brad Banducci, Woolworths Group (AUD$10,640,763)

  • Business: Woolworths Group
  • Industry: Retail
  • Earnings: $10,640,763
  • Birthdate: 1965
  • Location: Sydney, Australia

Now departing CEO and managing director of retail giant, Woolworths Group, Brad Banducci is famous for his interesting approach to wealth management. The chief has invested half a billion dollars in the company since his appointment in 2016, which has been a great win, as evidenced by Brad Banducci’s net worth figure. The supermarket chief managed to nab a whopping AUD$10.6 million pay this year, following on from a highly profitable run in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. More recently, however, Banducci has been rocked by allegations of price gouging and lack of competition in the Australian supermarket sector.

During an interview with ABC’s Four Corners program, Banducci walked out after a question about former Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) boss Rod Sims. While he later returned to finish the interview, the damage had already been done. Just a few short days later, Banducci tendered his resignation in a statement to the ASX, confirming that he would exit the company in September 2024.

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How the Earnings are Judged

Short of having the highest-paid CEOs in Australia submit their bank accounts to you directly, finding out their bottom lines isn’t always easy. However, the team at the Australian Council of Superannuation Investors (ACSI), an organisation committed to providing a voice on financial material environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues collates an annual report on CEO pay. Now in its 22nd year, the ACSI CEO Pay Report has become one of the industry’s most trusted list, derived from pay data collected from public disclosures covering 78 ASX100 CEOs (FY20: 82) and 76 ASX101-200 CEOs (FY20: 79).

The ACSI CEO Pay Report

Established in 2001, the ACSI undertakes a year-round program of research to calculate and investigate the value of cash and equity received by ASX200 CEOs. Remarkably, the research for this year found that the average realised pay for the top 100 CEOs is the lowest it’s been in the nine years since the organisation began collecting the ‘realised’ data. According to ACSI CEO Louise Davidson, this trend shows that boards, and their investors, are applying greater scrutiny to CEO pay in Australian companies.

“That growing maturity will be put to the test this year, as more complex market conditions mean that many companies will be impacted by factors including rising costs of living, skyrocketing interest rates, and continuing pressure on supply chains,” Davidson wrote in the report. “These issues will impact both company performance as well as public perceptions of CEO pay.”

More specifically, median fixed pay for the ASX100 CEO sample in FY22 ($1,741,724) was at its lowest level in the past 10 years. As the report outlines, the FY22 result was 9% lower than in FY11 – the highest median in the history of the ASX100 study was FY12 at $1.95 million.

This comes after a strange few years for CEO pay, most notably with the 2021 outlier result. That year, Afterpay’s co-CEOs Anthony Eisen and Nick Molnar set a joint record for realised pay of $264.2 million (more than $100 million each) after exercising their $1 options when the share price was near $90.

Methodology

In terms of how the Pay Report works, the study includes CEO pay for entities in the ASX200 for the 2022 financial year. Excluded from this list are CEOs appointed mid-year and externally managed entities, along with companies domiciled outside of Australia that are subject to different remuneration disclosure requirements. Also, if a company does not produce a remuneration report, it was also excluded.

Bonuses

While salary does encompass the vast majority of CEO pay, bonuses also make up a significant portion and this year, the big end of town cashed in. After a rough 2021 financial year, bonus outcomes reached record levels in FY21 as the pandemic-induced declines of FY20 more than reversed, and the number of CEOs receiving zero bonuses fell sharply. As ACSI CEO Louise Davidson explained, this trend has continued in 2023 and leading into the early part of 2024.

“There has been a slight retreat from the post-pandemic ‘catch up’ pay largesse of 2021, when CEOs were awarded a study record average of 76.7% of maximum bonus,” Davidson wrote in the report. “In 2022, that average fell to 71% – more in line with pre-pandemic years, but still significant.”

Highest Earning CEOs in Australia FAQs

What is Woolworth’s outgoing CEO Brad Banducci’s salary?

According to the Australian Council of Superannuation Investors (ACSI) annual report on CEO pay, outgoing Woolworth’s CEO Brad Banducci’s salary is AUD$10,640,763.

How much did the Afterpay founders make?

Afterpay duo, Anthony Eisen and Nick Molnar were previously the highest-earning CEOs in Australia, earning a whopping ADU$264 million after selling the business to Square for around $39 billion in 2021.

What is Nick Molnar’s net worth?

Nick Molnar’s net worth is $2.67 billion, as of 2022. The enormous figure comes after Molnar and business partner Anthony Eisen’s decision in August 2020 to execute 1.5 million stock options at $1, when the Afterpay share price hovered near $90.


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Nick Hall
Editor-in-Chief

Nick Hall

Nick Hall is an award-winning journalist and the current Editor-in-Chief of Man of Many. With an extensive background in the media industry, he specialises in feature writing, lifestyle and entertainment content. Nick is a former Mumbrella Publish Awards ‘Editor of the Year’ and B&T's ‘Best of the Best – Journalist’ category winner.

Prior to working at the men’s lifestyle publication, Nick spent two years as a journalist with Inside Franchise Business, focusing on small business, finance and legal reporting.