TAHE’s five-member board, chaired by Bruce Morgan, approved the layoff package last June and voted a month later to sweeten the deal with a generous bonus scheme.
At the time, TAHE was reeling from revelations that it had been spending $1 million a year on swanky new offices in Sydney’s CBD, rather than staying in rent-free space in a building it owned near Central Station.
Amid the crisis that gripped TAHE last year, the government decided not to approve the layoff and bonus schemes. A spokesman for Treasurer Matt Kean said, “The Treasurer has neither requested nor approved any changes to the CEO’s pay structure.”
Other documents show the board has approved a recommendation that Morgan and two other directors extend their contracts by up to three years in 2022. This means Morgan, a former chairman of Sydney Water and PwC’s Australian arm, will remain on the board until June 2025.
A government spokesman said it was government policy “to appoint directors to boards so that boards can function properly”. “The TAHE appointments were made 12 months ago,” the spokesman said.
The state-owned company was set up in 2015 to move billions of dollars in expenditure from NSW’s railways out of the state budget and into the company.
A herald The TAHE inquiry in 2021 sparked a parliamentary inquiry and resulted in the Court of Auditors delaying approval of state finances due to “significant accounting issues” related to the railway company.
Shadow Treasurer Daniel Mookhey said the board needed to explain why it was trying to hand out gold parachutes to its top executives.
“A hospital cleaner is not entitled to such a generous severance package as the TAHE board has been willing to give its executives,” he said.
A TAHE spokesman said the proposal to change the conditions of employment and dismissal rules for the chief executive officer had not been followed up.
“TAHE executives are compensated according to industry and state-owned company benchmarks. No bonuses, incentives or non-salary items were paid to officers of TAHE,” the spokesman said.
Colin became the state-owned company’s third CEO in a year, when she joined in September 2021.
Later that year, the company paid a public relations firm $275,000 to develop a strategy to “remake” its tarnished public image.
PR firm SEC Newgate listed a number of goals for management, including two “proactive” media reports, four LinkedIn posts per month and hosting two “significant” project-related events. It advised Colin to “complete two keynote addresses, one opinion piece and/or one exclusive media interview” in 2022.
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https://www.smh.com.au/national/nsw/rail-board-approved-lavish-executive-payout-fearing-labor-election-win-20230305-p5cpgz.html?ref=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_source=rss_national_nsw The Railway Authority approved a generous payout for executive layoffs amid fears of a Labor Party victory