Australian mining chiefs dominate the second annual BRW Executive Rich list, which ranks the 200 wealthiest managers by shareholding value. The commodities boom has pushed the number of mining bosses on the list to 71, up from 39 a year ago.
But the heads of corporate Australia in general have not been able to shield themselves from the bear market. The average wealth of the top 200 managers was $220.1 million, down from $231.2 million a year ago.
Andrew ‘Twiggy’ Forrest, founder and chief executive of Fortescue Metals Group, sits atop the list with a stake worth $8.36 billion.
His fortune is shadowed by Rupert Murdoch who sits second with News Corp holdings worth $7.87 billion. Another media mogul, James Packer, is a “distant” third with his interests in Crown and Consolidated Media valued at $3.63 billion.
By far the biggest debutant on the list was Kerr Neilson, the boss of Platinum Asset Management, which listed on the ASX last year – his holdings total $1.35 billion.
The credit crunch has hit finance executives hard with only 27 making the list. Investment bank Babcock & Brown is the most represented company, with nine executives on the list, but their combined wealth has fallen $897.7 million in the past 12 months. Jim Babcock’s wealth is down $288.4 million to $263 million. Phil Green’s wealth fell $157.1 million.
The high profile share price collapses of debt ridden ASX companies has seen a host of executives vanish from the list. They include ABC Learning founder Eddy Groves, former Allco Finance head David Coe and MFS co-founders Michael King and Phillip Adams.
There were only three women on the BRW richest 200 managers list. They were led by Penelope Maclagan, executive director of Computershare, who comes in at 37th with stock valued at $128 million.