CEO Memo: Pandemic proofing continues, and a look at the latest in executive pay trends

As the COVID-19 pandemic unfortunately lingers, there is a high level of anxiety and uncertainty prompted by the very ongoing nature of the crisis. Whether you are once again in lockdown or worried about returning to lockdown it continues to be an unsettling time.  

So how do we stay positive and keep looking to the future? Mental health and wellbeing experts say focusing on the aspects of life that are in your control can certainly help. In a professional sense, this might mean keeping your team motivated, developing key aspects of your businesses and putting in place some safe-guarding strategies (such as scenario testing for future crises and ensuring your risk register is up to date). 

Please be assured that we at Governance Institute are here to support you at all times. We have a dedicated COVID-19 email contact point so please feel free to reach out. Also, be sure to visit our resources page which is updated regularly. 

An update from the Governance Institute team  

We recently saw our second highest monthly increase in membership at Governance Institute. And while the governance and risk profession is being challenged like never before, we are proud to support you and provide a high level of advocacy, expertise and knowledge resources that you can draw upon. A warm welcome to our new members. 

We are also seeing strong enrolments in our courses and this tells us there is a growing appetite for knowledge in the risk and governance space. A warm welcome to our new and re-enrolling students also.   

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Board and executive remuneration in the spotlight  

Governance Institute recently partnered with professional services firm Aon to produce the Board and Executive Remuneration Survey, a snapshot of remuneration levels for directors and senior executives from 433 organisations. The report uncovered some interesting insights, including:  

  • almost two thirds of ASX300 organisations did not increase board fees in FY19
  • where there was an increase, the median increase for both chair and members was 4%
  • for senior executives within the ASX300, median salary movement was 2.4%.   

These are fairly subdued figures and measure a period before COVID-19. Of course, the focus is now on the pandemic’s impact on board and executive remuneration and there is plenty of evidence of the economic fallout from this on boardrooms across Australia. 

But while this is one of the toughest business environments ever experienced, and transparency and accountability are essential for any remuneration decision, it is also important to remember that good leaders, particularly during these times, are imperative.
 
Good leaders make better business and governance decisions which will help ensure an organisation is well-positioned for the post-pandemic world. And there is no doubt that good leaders need to be paid appropriately.  

You can read more about these remuneration trends and download the in a member-version of the report here.

As Remuneration Committees meet to discuss executive pay in 2020, Covid-19 is expected to have a profound impact on executive pay packages. And it will certainly be interesting to see what remains on — and off — the table for executive salaries in this year without precedent. 

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