As Fonterra prepares to lay off 750 staff, the firm has disclosed that chief executive Theo Spierings received a pay rise of up to 18 per cent - taking his pay to almost $5 million in the last financial year.
The dairy giant's latest financial statements show its top-paid employee earned between $4.93 million and $4.94 million in the year to July 31.
That's up from $4.17 million to $4.18 million in the previous year.
A Fonterra spokesman said Spierings' latest salary figure was the value of his total salary package and included performance incentives earned in the previous financial year, when the company delivered farmers a record payout of $8.50 per kg of milk solids.
The spokesman said Spierings' salary was based on international benchmarking and approved by the co-op's people, culture and safety committee.
"Fonterra's CEO salary is in the top band of New Zealand CEO salaries, which is to be expected when you consider Fonterra is New Zealand's largest and only truly global company with a $18.8 billion turnover in that reporting year," he said.
On Monday Fonterra announced that the number of job cuts resulting from a business review had risen to 750 from a previously announced figure of 523.
The company is under pressure to reduce costs as its farmer shareholders suffer financially from a slump in dairy prices.
Fonterra today reported a $506 million full-year profit, up 183 per cent on the previous year's result.
It also raised its forecast payout for the current season.
The financial statements also show the number of Fonterra employees who were paid a salary of more than $1 million in the year to July 31 rose to 22 from 17 in the previous year.
The number of employees paid over $1 million had been falling over the last few years from 26 in the July 2012 year, to 21 in 2013.
According to employee remuneration figures in the company's annual result, those paid a salary of $100,000 to $110,000 totalled 1072 in the year compared with 957 in the previous year.