Ah, to be a chief executive. Not only do you get handsomely paid for doing your job - even if you don't do it particularly well - very often you also get paid for leaving your job.
The latest case in point is Woolworths, whose chief executive Grant O'Brien will walk away with around A$10 million ($10.8 million) when he leaves this year, and shareholders are furious.
They have called on new chairman Gordon Cairns to renegotiate the package and the issue will be raised at what is likely to be a fiery annual general meeting this month.
Two things have got up shareholders' noses.
The first is the destruction of shareholder value that occurred while O'Brien was at the helm. From when he took over as chief executive in October 2011 Woolworths' market capitalisation has risen by just 1.6 per cent, compared with an increase of almost 37 per cent for the broader market, according to calculations by CGI Glass Lewis, which advises institutional shareholders on corporate governance matters.
O'Brien has presided over a deep loss of market share in the supermarket business to rival Coles and oversaw the investment in the Masters Hardware chain, a disastrous loss-making foray into the home improvement market which soaked up about A$2.2 billion.
The second irritant to shareholders is the way O'Brien was allowed to structure his departure to maximise his benefits. Despite announcing his resignation in July, O'Brien will stay until the end of this month, around five months later.
Even then, he'll still be only 54 years old - a year too young to access the generous Woolworths pension. So he'll use accrued annual and long-service leave to ensure his departure date stretches into mid-next year, when he'll be 55 and eligible for the entire pension.
It would be interesting to know if corporate HR will be equally accommodating as it sheds the 1200 workers the company announced would be cut when O'Brien announced his own retirement.
O'Brien has been at Woolworths for 28 years and there's no doubt he deserves to be rewarded for his long service. But A$10 million seems excessive, especially as he leaves the business with such an uncertain future.
CGI Glass Lewis recommended shareholders vote against the remuneration report, describing the retirement package as "being akin to a 'pay-for failure' arrangement".
"We fail to see the appropriateness of the board's decision to allow Mr O'Brien to stay as an employee of the company until such time as he becomes entitled to the company's defined benefits superannuation scheme," it said in a report.
Tough times for mining giant
BHP Billiton had what can best be described as the week from hell, but things are likely to get worse for the mining giant.
First, it was hit with a bill for A$288 million in unpaid royalties and interest payments by the Queensland government.
BHP has to pay royalties to the state's government based on the sale price it achieves for its coal. So after it dug up coal it then sold it to BHP Billiton Marketing AG, a Swiss subsidiary based in Singapore, which then onsold the coal for a higher price. BHP argued it should pay royalties on the lower price, but the Queensland government begged to differ.
Quite how BHP thought it could get away with such a transparent tax dodge when hundreds of millions of dollars are at stake is anybody's guess. It is now appealing against the bill through the court.
Next was the Samarco tragedy, where two tailings dams in a BHP-Vale mine in southeastern Brazil burst, killing at least seven people and coating a two-state area with mud and mine waste. BHP and fellow miner Vale have been hit with an "initial" fine of A$94 million. The ultimate penalty could be many times higher and could involve criminal sanctions.
The cost of the clean-up for BHP and its Brazilian partner Vale is estimated at A$1.4 billion.
All of this happened as BHP's share price fell to around where it was in 2005 before commodity prices started surging and the mining boom got under way. With the shares now languishing under A$20, all of the company's gains from the mining boom have been wiped out.
BHP has what it calls a "progressive dividend policy", which means it increases or at least maintains its dividend payout every year. The company is currently paying a dividend yield - the dividend relative to the share price - of 8.6 per cent including taxes.
BHP has been a long-term favourite of retirement investors who have enjoyed its regular dividends, but the recent share price fall and resultant high dividend yield suggests the market believes the company will be forced to cut its dividends as earnings contract.
Things look like they'll get worse for the mining giant.