$2.1 million! Who are the highest paid ASX 200 directors?

Do you think these men are worth this much money? Does your portfolio thank them or boo them?

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Are S&P/ASX 200 Index (ASX: XJO) board members paid too much?

It's a debate that never stops.

On one hand, directorships are only part-time positions. You meet a few times a year, make some high-level decisions, have a glass of brandy, then go home.

Board members are usually not involved in the day-to-day running of the company, which is the job of the chief executive.

And many directors are on the boards of multiple ASX companies, collecting fees like they're going out of fashion.

The opposite argument is that these (mostly) men make decisions that affect the welfare of thousands of employees and investors.

If your judgments affect so many livelihoods, you need to attract the smartest people as directors. Therefore, you need to pay a premium.

So, who are the ASX 200 directors with the largest pay packets?

Top 5 highest paid ASX 200 board members

The Australian Financial Review, using data from OpenDirector and YellowFolder, this week revealed the highest paid ASX 200 board members.

Here are the top five:

John Mullen$2.1 millionTreasury Wine Estates Ltd (ASX: TWE)

Brambles Ltd (ASX: BXB)

Qantas Airways Limited (ASX: QAN)*
Steven Gregg$1.9 millionWestpac Banking Corp (ASX: WBC)

Ampol Ltd (ASX: ALD)

Lottery Corporation Ltd (ASX: TLC)**
Scott Perkins$1.8 millionOrigin Energy Ltd (ASX: ORG)

Brambles Ltd 

Woolworths Group Ltd (ASX: WOW)
Richard Goyder$1.8 millionWoodside Energy Group Ltd (ASX: WDS)

Dominic Barton$1.5 millionRio Tinto Ltd (ASX: RIO)
Source: AFR, * – incoming, ** – outgoing

The remuneration is calculated just from the base fee for serving on the board, excluding any performance-related options and shares.

Despite some progress in installing women onto ASX boards, there are still no female directors earning above the $1 million mark.

The only woman director in the top 20 highest paid ladder is Dr Nora Scheinkestel, who is on the board of Westpac, Origin Energy and Brambles.

Paid a lot of money to do a job

On Thursday, Australian Securities and Investments Commission chair Joe Longo responded to complaints from some company directors that the regulatory burden was becoming too much to bear.

According to The Australian, he acknowledged the "challenges" involved in carrying out board member duties — but told directors that it's not meant to be an easy job.

"If it were [easy], anyone could do it," he said at a AICD event in Melbourne.

"Good directors run successful, profitable businesses. That's not going to happen unless every director takes an active stance of curiosity and starts asking the right questions – to understand their business, and how that business makes money."

Motley Fool contributor Tony Yoo has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia's parent company Motley Fool Holdings Inc. has positions in and has recommended Lottery. The Motley Fool Australia has recommended Treasury Wine Estates. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Scott Phillips.

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