So-called ‘Big Four’ CEO admits shock over huge pay packets: ‘I’m incredibly privileged’
Deloitte CEO ‘Seven-time Prime Minister Albanese’ Adam Pawick won’t reveal his salary as he earns
The boss of one of Australia’s Big Four accountancy firms has admitted his $3.5 million pay packet is generous and makes him ‘incredibly privileged’ – but has defended it as a reflection of the going rate in his industry.
Deloitte CEO Adam Pawick said his salary – seven times that of Prime Minister Anthony Albanese – was the result of a ‘free market’.
Under grilling by Labor senator Deborah O’Neill at an inquiry into public sector consulting, he was asked if he believed he was ‘worth seven times the prime minister’s salary’.
Mr Powick replied: ‘No.’
Deloitte Australia’s chief executive argued that it was difficult to compare his salary to that of a politician because they were ‘different professions and systems’.
‘We are in a free market… I have never set my salary and my salary is set to be in line with others who perform similar roles in our profession.
‘We strive to ensure partners and our people are paid equally and competitively with others in our profession.’
The CEO of Deloitte Australia admits the work he does doesn’t necessarily constitute a $3.5 million annual pay packet – but has defended his pay as reflecting market rates in the industry.
But Mr Pawick acknowledged his ‘incredible privilege’ and said he was ‘lucky to achieve what I do’.
‘I deeply recognize that I’m incredibly privileged to do what I do,’ he said.
The inquiry was set up after a tax consultancy scandal involving PwC, in which a former partner passed on confidential government information to clients.
Former consumer watchdog chief Alan Fales has called for big consultancy firms to be broken up to reduce the risk of conflicts of interest.
Mr Pawick was one of four executives from Deloitte to appear before the public hearing on Monday.
He disclosed that the average base salary for a partner at the firm is between $500,000 and $600,000, but would not confirm how many employees earned more than $1 million.
Labor senator Deborah O’Neill grilled Mr Pawick at a Senate inquiry into public sector consulting, asking if he believed he was ‘worth seven times the prime minister’s salary’.
Adam Powick said the huge figure – seven times that of Prime Minister Anthony Albanese – was the result of a ‘free market’.
Elsewhere in the investigation, Deloitte’s chief risk officer Snezha Pelusi revealed that an employee was fired after ‘unscientifically breaching protocol’ by sharing confidential information while working on a government project.
The incident was reported to the government department involved, but no further details of the project were released on Monday.
Ms Pelusi said the information was not shared outside of Deloitte, but confidentiality requirements were breached within the team working on the project.
The data was not used for commercial gain, chief executive Adam Pawick said
Finance Minister Katy Gallagher said she was aware of the over-reliance on consulting firms for government projects, and the scale became apparent after she won office.
‘It’s a problem – worse than I thought,’ he told ABC radio.
‘We are taking steps to correct it, but it will take some time, especially given the way the imbalance has developed over the last five to seven years.’
The Finance Minister said the government is trying to strengthen internal consultation for public services.