Qantas chiefs chat: who gets the tab?
Cheque please ... Qantas boss meets with his predecessor Geoff Dixon in Sydney. Photo: James Brickwood
Qantas chief Alan Joyce and his predecessor, former CEO Geoff Dixon, have clocked up some $50 million in pay between them. So which of them picks up the drinks tab?
In exclusive pictures that will hardly warm the hearts of long-term Qantas shareholders - or the airline's 30,000 rank-and-file staff - the two were photographed last night in deep conversation that lasted for three hours.
One can only imagine what they were talking about last night, as they enjoyed a beer and a couple of glasses of wine at the bar of the Park Hyatt Hotel at The Rocks in Sydney.
It's not the cheapest place in town to buy a drink - a beer alone tops $10 - but that should hardly trouble the pair.
According to the company's annual reports, Dixon and Joyce have earned $50.7 million in pay, bonuses and shares from running the nation's national carrier since 2002.
Indeed, during his tenure at Qantas, Dixon could lay claim to being the highest paid airline executive in the world.
In 2008 he pocketed $10.7 million before he departed Qantas - for just five months of work.
Ten years ago, Qantas shares were trading at almost $4.40 apiece. They peaked in 2007 at $6.05, amid the Dixon-led private equity play for the carrier. Today the shares trade at a much more humble $1.81 per share.
One thing is for sure - despite their self-professed leanings to the left side of social issues, a love of unions is unlikely to have been on the agenda.
Joyce has followed his predecessor's course of battling the unions that represent the airline's employees.
In 2003, Dixon remarked: "Whenever I refer to the possibility that Qantas may need to relocate work offshore, I am greeted with shock. But that is the reality of the aviation industry today. [Although] we need to be successful in our efforts to secure greater efficiency and cost reductions, we still have to pursue actions in order to remain competitive."
In his tussle with the unions over the past year, such a line could have come straight from the Joyce script.
Of course, neither man has made a secret of their regular meetings.
Last year Dixon admitted they met every few weeks and just this week Joyce flagged plans to catch up with the old boss.
We've put in the call to Qantas to ask which of the two picked up the bill. We'll keep you posted.