Optus: top level IT salaries should not be public

Salaries of top-level corporate executives should not be made public, outgoing Optus chief executive Chris Anderson said last week.

Revealing the pay packets of senior executives only pushed salaries higher, with no benefits to corporate governance, Anderson said it was a privacy issue.

"Naturally people like myself aren't enamoured of that sort of process," Anderson told an Australian Institute of Company Directors luncheon in Darwin.

"But apart from me just being concerned about privacy and disclosure, I think it is a process that in fact has been destructive and not constructive."

Anderson said the regulation had not helped the level of corporate disclosure.

"Senior executives are now well armed with high quality information about what the salaries of others, particularly in their rival companies, are paid," he said.

"I'd argue ... that because of those very disclosures it's driven up corporate salaries; people in fact are on a merry-go-round of saying that's what Jane or Joe gets over there, why don't we get it.

"I don't think, apart from the merriment that it has given the press, that it really has helped the general level of corporate disclosure, to help shareholders or investors.

"Rather than acting as a constraint on salary levels, in my view ... the disclosure has probably driven up executive salaries at the top levels."

Anderson called for a limit on regulation, saying it was a costly exercise that cost Optus $67 million a year.

He said the telecommunications industry was supposed to be one of self-regulation.