Comparing CEO salaries is an inexact science, salary consultant John McGill says.
"Performance, relativity and cost factors are typical issues remuneration committees consider when deciding a CEO's salary level."
Top of the salary table in the Hawke's Bay Today survey of CEO salaries is Garth Cowie of Port of Napier and Dr Kevin Snee of Hawke's Bay Hospital Board. Both earn close to $400,000 a year.
Port of Napier board chairman Jim Scotland said the board used its contacts and a consultant to decide pay levels. Mr Cowie's pay included an at-risk performance factor.
Port of Napier reported an after-tax profit of $7.047 million, with record tonnage, for the last financial year. A dividend of $4.26 million was paid to its owner, Hawke's Bay Regional Authority.
Dr Snee has different key performance indicators. The hospital board is the Bay's largest single employer, with more than 2000 staff, and spends well over $1 million a day. His salary bands were determined by the State Services Commission which signed off the agreed amount between Mr Cowie and the board.
Top council earner was Napier City Council's Neil Taylor on $255,309. Mayor Barbara Arnott said his salary was determined from information garnered from the public and private sector, with a consultant's assessment commissioned some years.
Hastings District Council's Ross McLeod was responsible for the most zeros, with council assets valued at $1.57 billion dollars.
The man with two hats is Hawke's Bay's longest serving CEO, Wairoa's Peter Freeman, who was also regulatory manager - he earned $197,964. "This was a necessity back in the 90s when we needed a regulatory manager and couldn't afford one - I also do fire and civil defence," he said.
Central Hawke's Bay Council's John Freeman came last in the survey at $170,000.
CEO & TOP EXECS REMUNERATION REPORT
* The report draws on detailed remuneration data for 2583 executives from 592 organisations; 396 (67 per cent) organisations from the private sector and 196 (33 per cent) from the public sector.
* The median annual base salary for CEO/managing directors is $268,736, while median total remuneration is $280,065.
* Private sector CEO/managing directors earn only about 1 per cent more base salary than their public sector peers (based on median figures of $250,000 versus $247,424) but 16 per cent more in total remuneration (based on median figures of $321,093 versus $271,026). Those gaps are narrower than in 2009, when they were 6 per cent at base salary and 18 per cent at total remuneration.
* CEO/managing directors of New Zealand's largest organisations (those with revenues exceeding $1 billion) earn median total remuneration packages of $839,800 (average $1,336,410). The upper decile total remuneration package for those CEO/managing directors is $2,720,000.
* By comparison, CEO/managing directors of New Zealand's smaller organisations (those with revenues less than $15 million) earn median total remuneration packages of $172,000 (average $206,118). The upper decile total remuneration package for those CEO/managing directors is $347,315.
* In the private sector, short-term incentives (with pre-set performance targets) are the most common form of short-term variable pay, while less-structured bonuses are more commonly reported in the public sector. Long-term incentives are standard in executive packages in medium-to-large listed New Zealand companies.
* Average variable pay (incentives and bonuses) paid to CEO/managing directors during the past 12 months is $138,340 (or 40 per cent of average base salary).
* The three most highly paid top executives are in sales and marketing, property and operations.
- Source: Strategic Pay Ltd