||Issue No. 132||19 April 2002|
Interview: Generation Next
Legal: We’re All Terrorists Now
Unions: Holding the Baby
International: Taking It To The Streets
History: Off the Wall
Economics: Financing International Development
Satire: Queen Mum's Life Tragically Cut Short
Review: Return of The People’s Parliament
Poetry: Silent Night
The Locker Room
Week in Review
Where's the Silver Tail?
Stand and Deliver
Aussie Banks Deliver for Shareholders
While they may be closing branches and shedding staff, Australian banks are paying their shareholders some of the highest returns in the financial services world. A new report by strategic consulting firm Oliver, Wyman and Company shows that the Commonwealth Bank of Australia topped a list of 400 'large-cap' financial services companies in terms of returns paid to shareholders over the past five years. Westpac was third, beating giants such as ABN Amro, Merrill Lynch and Citigroup, on the shareholder performance index compiled by strategic consulting firm Oliver, Wyman and Company. ANZ was 12th and the National Australia Bank 25th on the large-cap list, while Macquarie Bank and Suncorp-Metway were fourth and fifth on the index for mid-cap institutions, with St George Bank in 14th place.
Big Fat Pay Packets Keep On Coming
The sour economy and stockmarket slump has not stopped executives from scoring fat pay packets through stock option exercises last year. The top seven earners include two expat Australians, Coca-Cola's Doug Daft and Philip Morris's Geoff Bible, though they were a long way behind the top scorer, Oracle's Lawrence Ellison.
He scored total direct compensation of $US706.1 million. Mr Daft scored $US54.9 million, while Mr Bible got $US49.4 million.This week it was revealed that former Ford chief executive Jacques Nasser, believed to be back in Australia, was given $US23 million compensation. Of this, his 2001 salary was $US1.75 million. The rest was in options which could be cashed in when shares reach a strike price of $US30.19 - almost twice the current value. The figures turned up in Mercer Human Resource Consulting's annual compensation study, published in The Wall Street Journal.
Qantas Regional Restructure Threatens Jobs
Qantas Airlines is set to restructure its regional operations placing the jobs of some flight attendants and pilots in doubt. Qantas currently has five regional subsidiaries, but the ABC reports it wants to combine the regional carriers into two camps, one for commuter planes and another for small jets. It is likely their bases will be moved to two central locations, with other administration centres across the country to close. One of the subsidiaries, Southern Airlines, which operates in South Australia, Victoria, the ACT and Tasmania, has told its flight attendants and pilots to apply for new positions and it is believed the airlines headquarters in Mildura in Victoria will close within three months.
Nine, SMH Plan Job Cuts
Two Australian media giants are planning job cuts in response to a downturn in advertising. The Nine Network is believed to be planning to slash costs by 10 per cent across the board, with widespread job cuts, according to industry analysts. Nine is also said to be scrutinising costs of its news operations and is reportedly seeking to extract 5 per cent in annual savings. Several analysts believe the cost restructure is more evidence that the network is being groomed for a potential sale, with Telstra again showing interest. Meanwhile, Fairfax has confirmed there will be jobs losses from a merger of its regional and community newspapers. The two divisions will form a single structure to be called Fairfax Regional and Community Newspapers. The plan is part of a company-wide review aimed at cutting costs in an advertising market described by Fairfax chief executive Fred Hilmer recently as the worst in a decade.
Enron 'Tried To Buy Reporter's Silence'
The scandal surrounding fallen US energy giant Enron took on an international dimension, when an Indian journalist said the corporation had tried to buy his silence in order to push a lucrative project in his country. Raghu Dhar, the business editor at India's Zee TV, was a harsh critic of an Enron-led international consortium built in India's western Maharashtra state.He's told CBS's Sixty Minutes program that Enron officials had offered him what amounted to a concealed bribe. They suggested he join the corporate communications department with a salary of $US1 million a year and convert from a company critic into a promoter of its interests in India.
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