Headline v story

The headline in Stuff:

High pay rates stay despite firm’s loss

Note the journalists doesn’t write the headline. Then the first para:

State-owned coal miner has more than a quarter of its staff earning double the average wage and a chief on $1.1m when the company made a loss of $40 million this year.

Solid Energy’s 2012 annual report shows it chief executive Don Elder was paid $1.1m in the year to June and weeks later announced he was axing the jobs of a quarter of the staff to save millions of dollars in costs.

So at first the impression is that despite Solid Energy losing money, the CE is unaffected or even getting a pay increase. But you then read:

Elder’s 2012 pay is $250,000 less than what he was paid the year before because he received less in performance payments.

Hmmn, so in fact the CE has taken a 20% cut in remuneration – not such a sexy headline though is it.

The board was prepared to pay him a short term performance payment of $164,350. That was only 40 per cent of what he could have earned in that category.

However Elder declined to take anything in that short term category.

And the CE voluntarily declined any short-term performance payment even though he met some of his objectives. A laudable decision, in light of the company’s struggles.

Elder told the board he wants to take a 10 per cent cut to his base pay in this 2013 financial year.

And he has voluntarily offered a cut in his base pay rate.

It’s good all this detail is in the story. It is just a pity that the headline didn’t reflect it with a more accurate headline such as “Solid Energy boss takes pay cut as company struggles”

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