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Boggs pay eclipsed by mystery millionaire

NZN 31/03/2017 Paul McBeth

NZME chief executive Michael Boggs was the second highest-paid employee at the radio network operator and newspaper publisher last year, with a mystery million-dollar staffer taking the top pay packet.

The Auckland-based company's highest paid employee was in a salary band of between $1.02 million and $1.03 million in calendar 2016, more than the $865,111 Boggs received in his first year in charge of the company, NZME's annual report shows.

Chief marketing officer Liza McNally said the company doesn't comment on individual employment terms when asked whether the top earner was still at the company.

Media companies are often criticised for paying too much for top talent.

NZME's former chief executive Jane Hastings left during in 2016, departing after 18 months in the job to "pursue other opportunities".

She was an internal appointment having run The Radio Network before taking over the broader operation. In 2015 Hastings' total pay packet was A$1.22 million, up from A$980,000 a year earlier.

The media group paid $67 million to 426 employees on salaries of $100,000 or more, accounting for about 41 per cent of the company's annual wage bill of $161.6m.

Of that senior management were paid $5.7m in 2016, including just $52,000 of termination benefits.

That was in a year when the overall wage bill shrank 1.8 per cent as a round of redundancies totalling $6m in 2016 and $7.2m the year earlier, helped reduce labour costs due to the integration of the print, radio and e-commerce units, chief financial officer Mike Moran said in the annual report.

The company is trying to convince the Commerce Commission to approve a merger with rival Fairfax New Zealand to let a combined entity sack staff and spread their coverage, putting them on a stronger footing to compete more aggressively for digital ad revenue against the likes of Google and Facebook.

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