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BRW executive rich list dominated by mining

Thursday, 24 March 2011 | By Michelle Hammond

Mining magnate Andrew Forrest has bumped media mogul Rupert Murdoch off the top spot in this year’s BRW Executive Rich List, with mining companies dominating the list of Australia’s 200 wealthiest executives.

 

Australia’s mining boom has seen Forrest grow his wealth to $6.2 billion this year, while Murdoch’s earnings from his News Corp shares slid from $6 billion to $5.7 billion.

 

James Packer maintained his third place position with $3.6 billion, with media man Kerry Stokes in fourth place and Westfield chief Frank Lowy in fifth.

 

The list features the top 200 executives of the top 500 publicly listed Australian companies. The executives must be involved in the day-to-day management of the organisation, with the list based on the number of shares they have in their respective companies.

 

While the media sector is well represented in the top 10, media executives’ overall fortunes are no match for the mining sector, with 81 of the top 200 involved in resources or mining services, compared to just 56 last year.

 

Meanwhile, the representation of women on the list fell this year, with only four female executives compared with five last year.

 

They included Katie Page of Harvey Norman, with $51 million in company shares, and Westpac’s leading lady Gail Kelly with $33 million in shares.

 

There were some noticeable absences from the list including Computershare founder Chris Morris and Virgin Blue boss Brett Godfrey.

 

There were, however, a healthy number of start-up entrepreneurs including iiNet founder Michael Malone, who entered the list at number 74.

 

With a 12.4% market share, iiNet is one of Australia’s largest internet service providers. Last financial year, it saw revenues climb to $473 million. The business was founded in 1993 and spent the first few years of operation in a garage.

 

The founders of Little World Beverages, Nic Trimboli and Howard Cearns, were ranked 125 and 127 respectively, while Domino’s Pizza boss Don Meij came in at number 162.

 

Launched in 2000, Little World Beverages is best known for its ownership of Little Creatures, an iconic brewery of beer, cider and ale. According to BRW, Trimboli has $23.6 million in company shares while Cearns has $22.8 million.

 

Meanwhile, Meij made his fortune after becoming a Domino’s Pizza franchisee in 1996 and building up a network of 17 stores before vending his stores into Domino’s in 2001 to become chief operating officer, and taking the lead as chief executive in 2002.

 

In May 2005, Meij led Domino’s to become Australia’s first publicly listed pizza chain on the ASX, and now has $18.2 million in company shares.

 

Other major retailers also did well, with Myer chief executive Bernie Brookes in 86th place and JB Hi-Fi chief Terry Smart entering the list at number 107.