B.C.’s top executives take another pay cut

Down for a third consecutive year, average compensation drops below 2015 levels

For a third consecutive year, British Columbia’s top executives took a pay cut, according to BIV’s list of the province’s highest-paid executives (pages 9–10).

Average compensation for the highest-paid executives fell 16% to $3.4 million in 2019 from $4 million in 2018. The decline is significantly higher than in 2018, when the average compensation for the province’s top executives dropped 9.5% to $4 million from $4.45 million.

The last time the average compensation for B.C.’s top 100 highest-paid executives increased was in 2017, when  it spiked 17.1% to $4.5 million in 2019 from $3.8 million in 2018. A steady decline since then has reduced the average compensation for the executives to below its 2015 level.

Kent Thexton (No. 94), president and CEO of Sierra Wireless Inc. (TSX:SW), had the largest one-year decline in total compensation in the top 100. It fell 78.2% to $1.3 million in 2019 from $6.2 million in 2018. As a result, Thexton plummeted 80 places on the list from his No. 14 ranking in 2019. It was the largest move on the list.  The executive with largest one-year percentage increase was Michael Cinnamond (No. 9). The total compensation for B2Gold Corp.’s (TSX:BTO) CFO grew 160% to $6.2 million in 2019 from $2.4 million in 2018.

Of the 64 executives who have been on the list for the past two years, only 13 have fallen in rank while 49 moved up the BIV list.

Christopher Dunn (No. 29), executive director of Ero Copper Corp. (TSX:ERO), moved furthest up BIV’s list. His ranking jumped 68 spots from No. 97 in 2019. The rise resulted from a 56.5% increase in compensation to $3.1 million in 2019 from $2 million in 2018.

L. Scott Thomson (No. 2), president and CEO of Finning International Inc. (TSX:FTT), had the second largest one-year compensation increase on the list. He moved up 15 spots with a 134.7% raise to $13.9 million in 2019 from $5.9 million in 2018. The $7.9 million increase was the largest one-year pay hike on the list, eclipsing the second largest by nearly $1 million.

As a result, Thomson was able to crack the top 10, surpassing mainstays like Telus Corp. (TSX:T) CEO Darren Entwistle (No. 3)  and Teck Resources Ltd. (NYSE:TECK) CEO Donald Lindsay (No. 5). •