BUSINESSDESK: PGG Wrighton's managing director George Gould was paid $1.5 million in his first full year in charge of the country's biggest rural services firm, in a period when the company also increased its number of highly paid executives.
Mr Gould's first full year as boss of the rural services firm has overseen a pick-up in the number of employees paid more than $100,000 to 264 from 217 a year earlier, according to PGG Wrighton's annual report.
Five executives were paid more than $500,000 in 2012, with the highest getting between $930,000 and $940,000. That compares to just two executives paid more than $500,000 in 2011, with the highest band between $560,000 and $570,000.
Mr Gould joined Wrightson's management team in February last year, having previously sat on the board as a representative for Pyne Gould Corp.
He was paid $676,000 in salary and director's fees in 2011, but does not attract directors' fees since his appointment as managing director.
Wrightson went through a rapid leadership change in 2010 after its failed merger attempt with Silver Fern Farms and the ill-fated New Zealand Farming Systems Uruguay venture under Craig Norgate's chairmanship.
The company returned to profit in the 2012 financial year with earnings of $24.5 million on a pick-up from its services unit.
Wrightson spent last year exiting assets it no longer considered part of its core business, the biggest of which was the sale of its finance unit to would-be bank Heartland New Zealand, after China's Agria Corp took control of the firm in a $144 million deal.
The shares fell 2.6% to 37 cents yesterday. The stock is rated an average "outperform" based on five analyst recommendations compiled by Reuters with a median target price of 43.5 cents.