Newcrest trims executive bonuses after year of woe

Trouble-prone gold producer Newcrest Mining has joined the trend for lower executive pay, with chief executive Greg Robinson receiving a smaller remuneration package in the 2013 financial year.

Trouble-prone gold producer Newcrest Mining has joined the trend for lower executive pay, with chief executive Greg Robinson receiving a smaller remuneration package in the 2013 financial year.

Mr Robinson's total package fell from $3.69 million in fiscal 2012, to $2.73 million in 2013.

A significant factor in the fall was the absence of short-term incentives, with Mr Robinson denied short-term bonuses after a terrible year for Newcrest.

The company reported a net loss of $US5.77 billion ($6.27 billion) for the 2013 financial year, after more than $US6 billion in asset write-downs and restructuring costs.

Newcrest's share price slumped from $23.50 to about $10 in fiscal 2013, as missed targets and a slump in the price of gold took their toll.

The share price was also harmed by a market disclosure crisis in June, which is still being investigated by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission.

That collection of problems ensured a lower remuneration package for Mr Robinson, and convinced the board it could not offer him a pay rise when the company does its remuneration review in October. Finance director Gerard Bond and other executives will get less than 8 per cent of their short-term incentives.

Newcrest policy stipulates that long-term incentives are calculated over a three-year period and vest in November each year. The company reassured investors that the vesting of long-term incentives would be closely watched and executives payments would be less.

Lower executive pay has been a theme at several big miners recently, most notably at BHP Billiton, where the board chose to deny top executives 35 per cent of the long-term incentive payments they had technically earned. The decision to reduce the payments was made because ordinary BHP shareholders had gone backwards in terms of total shareholder returns in the same period.

BHP chief executive Andrew Mackenzie voluntarily cut his package even further.

Rio Tinto chairman Jan du Plessis has also been outspoken on the issue of reducing executive pay, declaring in July 2012 that businesses must not lose touch with ordinary society.

"It is absolutely clear that the spiral in executive remuneration that we have seen over the last two decades simply cannot continue," he told an audience in London.

Newcrest's shares closed 44ยข higher at $13.24, principally because of a stronger gold price.

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