Top CEOs’ pay understated by millions

TEN of Australia's top chief executives between them earned $70 million more last year than their companies' annual reports suggested.

The Australian Council of Superannuation Investors on Thursday released its annual review of CEO pay in ASX200 and ASX100 companies.

It found the collective pay packets of the ASX100's top 10 chief executives were about 70% higher than those declared in company annual reports.

The review showed those 10 chief executives took home a total of $171.4 million in 2014, compared to the $99.2 million declared.

While the discrepancy did not break any declaration rules, it highlighted the difference between reported earnings and the bonuses CEOs received, including stock options.

The best-paid ASX100 chief executive was named as Ramsay Healthcare's Chris Rex, who took home a total of $30.8 million last year.

Second place went to Peter and Steven Lowy, of Westfield, who shared in $24.4 million, but the vast bulk of that was reported in the firm's 2014 annual filings.

Others in the top 10 included Louis Gries of James Hardie Industries, BHP chief Andrew Mackenzie, Westpac's Gail Kelly and Macquarie Group's Nicholas Moore.

The report said the average pay for CEOs in 2014 was $5.63 million, but the average reported pay was $5.01million.

ACSI chief Louise Davidson said of the figures: "Statutory reporting is, perhaps, disclosing only the tip of the iceberg in terms of the wealth accruing to senior executives."

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