At Telstra’s meeting of shareholders yesterday, the board ignored a shareholders vote against a report recommending record bonuses for the management team. CEO Sol Trujillo stands to earn $22 million dollars for his labour in the next financial year.
Chairman Donald McGauchie also refused to reveal the financial and non-financial performance triggers for these bonuses, on the basis of “commercial in-confidence”.
Put simply, the Telstra board has determined that a number of actions are OK –
1. To pay the chief executive $22 million per annum.
2. To refuse to disclose the reasons for this.
3. To ignore the lack of confidence revealed by the vote.
This is the most breathtaking display of corporate arrogance I’ve seen for a long time. It looks as if the dodgy trans-Pacific corporate culture that can live with these processes has spread like a virus to Oz.
It will be interesting to see if there are any future repercussions to the makeup of the board the next time shareholders have a say.
I wouldn't hold out too much hope. The big end of town lives in a moral and ethical dimension all of its own.