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$12m Woolworths CEO gives up bonus over $300m wage scandal

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Woolworths chief executive Brad Banducci has given up a potential $2.6 million bonus over the supermarket giant’s wage underpayment scandal.

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Banducci said on Wednesday he would forgo the short-term incentive following last month’s revelation by Woolies that it had underpaid at least 5,700 staff by as much as $300 million over nine years,

“I have made the personal decision to forgo my FY20 short-term bonus because I believe it is the right thing for me to do as CEO,” Banducci said.

The target short-term bonus was $2.6 million, although the final amount could have been lower or higher depending on the chain’s performance over the year.

In FY19, Banducci received $974,000 in cash short-term incentives of a target $1.3 million, although the vesting of more than $2.1 million in deferred short-term bonuses and $6.9 million in long-term bonuses pushed his total remuneration to $12.6 million.

Chairman Gordon Cairns has also taken a 20 per cent cut to his $790,531 board fee.

“I accept that, as the chairman of the board, I have a higher level of responsibility than my board colleagues,” Cairns said.

Woolworths, which described the board-endorsed decisions as acknowledgements of responsibility, said it aims to complete its review of the underpayments by the end of the financial year on September 30.

“Once this is finalised, further consequences will be considered by the board,” Woolworths said in a statement to the ASX.

The company said last month that returning the cash plus interest to staff will result in a one-off remediation charge of between $200 million and $300 million in February’s first-half results, although the final numbers of staff affected and wages underpaid could climb.

-AAP

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