Tuesdata: How Seven's James Warburton is once again Australia's top paid media exec
Welcome to Tuesdata, our weekly analysis for Unmade’s paying members.
With annual reporting season winding down - and with it, the obligations to share financial details with the market - we’ve crunched the numbers to rank the pay of the bosses of every media and marketing company on the ASX.
Further down, The Unmade Index continues to sink.
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Despite SWM’s fading financial fortunes, CEO James Warburton takes top salary - again
It’s been a tough year for media company CEOs. Amid a weakening global ad market and subsequent cost-cutting imperatives, pressure to perform is extraordinarily high.
The newly released FY23 results reveal that, having missed their targets, almost all executives have taken a haircut on their bonuses compared to the boom times of the previous financial year.
Australia’s top paid media executive is James Warburton, CEO of Seven West Media. This is despite SWM’s market capitalisation being just one seventh that of his nearest rival, Nine, helmed by Mike Sneesby. Meanwhile, Seven’s $1.487bn revenues are only half that of Nine’s $2.7bn.
Warburton took home a total remuneration package of $2,772,180 in the 2023 financial year - just a little more than Sneesby’s salary for the same period.
However, this marks a decline of 18.5% in the Seven boss’s compensation, with Warburton previously receiving $3,402,337 in total remuneration for the 2022 financial year. And in the previous FY21 year, he had seen an even bigger package, of $7,623,157 thanks to hitting his targets on share price and profits.
Meanwhile, Nine CEO Mike Sneesby took home $2,699,462 in total compensation in FY23, a fall of 15% on his first year in the chair.
In the head-to-head comparisons for best rewarded salesperson, Nine’s chief sales officer Michael Stephenson overtook Seven’s chief revenue officer Kurt Burnette as Australia’s top paid media sales executive.
Stepho’s total package was $1,820,118, a fall of 2.6% on the $1,869,370 he made in the FY22 period.
Burnette took home $1,258,054 in total compensation, well down on the $1,895,756 he made in FY2022.
The third best rewarded media sales executive among those declared to the ASX was Southern Cross Austereo chief sales officer Brian Gallagher who earned $766,238 during his final year.
Meanwhile, Grant Blackley, who left SCA at the end of the financial year, also took a bumper payout on the way out of the door.
He was one of just two CEOs to see a jump in total remuneration for the financial year - likely explained by end-of-contract payouts. Blackley left with $2,432,688 - up 43.7% on the previous financial year.
Blackley’s successor John Kelly, previously chief operating officer, trousered $926,587 for the year.
Below the paywall, we feature our ranking of the earnings of every media CEO on the ASX.