THE pay earned by the bosses of Singapore's largest firms mostly reflected the way their companies performed in the last financial year, according to a Straits Times analysis of 20 businesses as the latest annual reports are released.
The findings indicate that top management remuneration is becoming more closely aligned to results, which means there are losers among the winners.
Take SingTel, Singapore's largest listed firm.
Its chief executive, Ms Chua Sock Koong, saw her pay dip nearly 6 per cent, from $4.9 million in 2012 to $4.6 million last year. The numbers exclude the value of shares she received.
Net profit for the telco - Singapore's largest company by market capitalisation - mirrored Ms Chua's pay drop, falling 12 per cent over the same period, from $3.99 billion to $3.5 billion.
Wilmar International CEO Kuok Khoon Hong took home $5.2 million last year, up just over 1 per cent from $5.1 million in 2012, while group net profit similarly increased by 5 per cent from $1.6 billion to $1.7 billion.
There were some exceptions, however.
Sembcorp Industries reported close to 9 per cent growth in net profits last year, up from $753 million in 2012 to $820 million, but the $6 million CEO Tang Kin Fei received was down 15 per cent from $7 million the year before.
On the other hand, OCBC chief executive Samuel Tsien made headlines last month when his package shot up almost 60 per cent, from $5.5 million in 2012 to $8.8 million last year.
But this was partially because Mr Tsien's pay in 2012 started only from April, when he took over as CEO.
Among the best-paid were DBS Bank's Mr Piyush Gupta, whose package came in at $9.2 million, as well as Mr Kwek Leng Beng of City Developments and Genting Singapore's Mr Lim Kok Thay.
Both Mr Kwek and Mr Lim took home between $9 million and $9.25 million last year, both increases from the previous year.
Both firms registered increases in net profit of under 1 per cent in the same period.
OCBC subsidiary Great Eastern followed its parent company's approach. Chief executive Christopher Wei took home about $4.3 million last year, up 4 per cent from $4.1 million the previous year.
The insurer's bottom line fared less well as profits dropped 43 per cent from $1.2 billion to $675 million over the same period, although this was mostly due to the one-off disposal gains from the sale of stakes in Asia Pacific Breweries and Fraser & Neave, which had been registered in the third quarter of 2012.
Among the more modestly paid was Singapore Airlines CEO Goh Choon Phong, who took home $2.6 million last year despite a 13 per cent increase in the national flag carrier's net profits from $336 million to $379 million.
Although his pay was up 50 per cent from the previous year, the sum in 2012 did not include the value of awarded shares, unlike last year.
Firms have generally become more transparent in disclosing directors' pay cheques following recommendations in the latest Code of Corporate Governance jointly managed by the Monetary Authority of Singapore and Singapore Exchange.
The code states that companies should "fully disclose the remuneration of each individual director and the CEO on a named basis" in the annual report.
But compliance is not mandatory. While firms such as Jardine Cycle & Carriage and United Overseas Bank have switched to full disclosure, not all have been as quick to follow.
Firms such as StarHub, Genting Singapore, Golden Agri-Resources and City Developments all opted to indicate CEO pay in bands of $250,000 in their annual reports.
Most of the companies said they felt the current level of disclosure was "sufficient", and cited competition and the sensitivity of remuneration matters as reasons for keeping details private.