Premier boss pockets hefty bonus after claiming $70 million in JobKeeper

Premier Investments chief executive Mark McInnes has pocketed $5.4 million in pay for the past financial year despite the retailer claiming tens of millions in JobKeeper subsidies.

Premier, which runs popular retail chains such as Peter Alexander, Smiggle and JayJays, released its annual report to shareholders after market close on Friday, which detailed the remuneration for Mr McInnes.

Premier Investments CEO Mark McInnes will take home $5.4 million for the 2020 financial year.
Premier Investments CEO Mark McInnes will take home $5.4 million for the 2020 financial year.Credit:Paul Jeffers

He received a base salary of $2.4 million for the 2020 financial year, which was topped up by $2.5 million in short-term incentives and an additional $444,444 in long-term incentives, taking his total pay packet for the year up to $5.4 million.

The generous remuneration package comes despite Premier Investment claiming $68.7 million in wage subsidies across the markets it operates in, which includes Australia, New Zealand and England. A total of $35.5 million was passed through to employees who were unable to work, leaving the remaining $33.2 million as a direct fillip to the business.


A number of Australian companies have copped flak from the public and members of parliament for granting generous bonuses to executives while also taking JobKeeper.

In August, Labor frontbencher Andrew Leigh criticised footwear retailer Accent Group for taking $13 million in wage subsidies and also issuing a $1.2 million bonus for its chief executive. Star Casino, which received $64 million in JobKeeper, was similarly criticised.

Premier paid its shareholders a final dividend of 36 cents per share for the full year, though it stressed that its JobKeeper receipts did not factor into its dividend payment.

Mr McInnes’ remuneration is under the $6.1 million he received last year, partially due to the executive forgoing his remuneration for the month of April and receiving only 80 per cent of his monthly gross remuneration for the month of May.

The $2.5 million received by the chief executive in short-term incentives is close to the maximum amount he is eligible to receive, which sits at $2.75 million. Premier noted the bonuses were awarded due to the company’s significant profit growth, which jumped 30 per cent for the year to $137.8 million.

Terrence McCartney, the chairman of Premier’s remuneration committee, defended Mr McInnes’ pay packet, saying the strong result delivered was due to the “swift response of the group’s world-class management team”.

“The [wage subsidy] funds that the group received were used to support standing up its employees as stores gradually reopened under COVID-19 safe plans,” he said.

Premier’s founder and majority shareholder Solomon Lew does not take a fee for his role as company chairman.

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