'A small group of loafers'

May 13, 1998

'A small group of loafers'

By James Vassilopoulos

In the year to September 30, 1997, one of the directors of Lang Corporation, the parent company of Patrick Stevedores, was paid a salary of more than $800,000. This director achieved world's best practice by attending no more than four board meetings in the year.

Another director was paid over $480,000. We do not know who exactly got these huge salaries because the 1997 Lang Corporation annual report does not say, but we can guess.

In 1997 the Lang directors were Christopher Darcy Corrigan, Peter Damien Scanlon, Gilles Thomas Kryger, John Charles Garrard and David John Joseph Vaux.

These five creamed off $1.8 million, not including the value of executive share options. Three of these five directors got at least $800,000, $480,000 and $70,000. Vaux, who attended two board meetings, probably got the $800,000, since this figure included a redundancy component, and Vaux is not now a director.

Corrigan, as managing director of Lang Corporation, probably got $480,000 in 1997, not including his options. In 1996, the top director of Lang was paid at least $380,000. Assuming it was still Corrigan, he got a 26% pay rise.

Unlike those of us who recently had to go through the Industrial Relations Commission to win a $14 rise, Corrigan got his $100,000 increase through Lang Corporation's Remuneration Committee, which reviews salaries and share option schemes.

The Remuneration Committee is composed of Christopher Darcy Corrigan, Gilles Thomas Kryger and Peter Damien Scanlon. Wouldn't it be fantastic if workers on $400 per week could apply to their own remuneration board!

Also, during 1997, 4.5 million share options were exercised by executives of Lang Corporation at a price of $1.15. They can buy another half million shares on June 16, 1998, for $1.30. The May 7 market price of Lang shares was $1.74.

As of last September 30, Corrigan had 3,773,332 shares in Lang Corporation. At their May 7 price, that's $6.5 million worth.

Scanlon, who has a mansion in East Hawthorn, a beach house at Point Leo, an eight-seater helicopter, a share in a vineyard in Burgundy and a villa outside Florence, has more than 17 million Lang shares. That makes this expert asset-stripper from the John Elliott school worth $30 million in Lang shares alone.

When the April 20 Australian Financial Review spluttered about "a small group of overpaid loafers commandeering a vulnerable bottleneck in the distribution chain", surely it must have been talking about these people.

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