Former casino boss Nigel Morrison received a hefty payout when he left SkyCity in April last year, after eight years in the top job.

Morrison received $96,000 in annual leave, $2.3m in departing entitlements and more than $363,000 worth of dividends.

READ MORE:Revealed: What NZ's top executives are paid

He was paid a total of $6,493,284 last year, including $3.7m of salary, making him the highest paid executive last year, according to findings from the Business Herald's annual CEO pay survey, this year.

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Morrisson, who was appointed SkyCity chief executive in March 2008, was poached from Macau for the top job.

Simon Monks, managing partner of Caldwell Partners, says Morrison was an example of an international CEO appointment to a New Zealand company "done right".

"If you look at what Nigel Morrison achieved in the time he was there [at SkyCity], it was an extraordinary achievement," Monks said. "He was the first gaming chief executive that SkyCity has ever had, and he's left a great legacy."

Last year Morrison was paid $2,880,500, down 11 per cent from his 2016 earnings.

South African-born Graeme Stephens is the new chief executive of Sky City.

Chief executives at New Zealand's biggest companies got a pay rise of 3.3 per cent last year - the lowest increase since 2011.

The Business Herald's annual CEO pay survey reveals that chief executive pay for the 2016 financial year averaged $1,732,802, up 3.34 per cent from $1,676,757 the previous year. In the survey's 12-year history, the lowest CEO pay increase was recorded at just 0.4 per cent in 2011.

The latest 3.3 per cent rise follows two years of double-digit increases - 12 per cent in the year to 2015 and 10 per cent in 2014 - and is more in line with the average worker's pay rise - though in dollar terms, it's still an extra $56,000.

The survey covers 49 of the biggest listed companies, plus non-listed Fonterra, because of its size. Herald owner NZME is added to the survey, for the sake of transparency.

Click here to see the full survey findings.