New icare CEO to become state’s highest paid public servant

Icare’s new CEO will become the highest paid public servant in NSW with an annual salary of $822,000.

Richard Harding

He’ll also get a yearly bonus of up to $411,000.

Icare Chair John Robertson on Wednesday announced insurance executive Richard Harding’s appointment as the new CEO and Managing Director of the troubled state-run workers compensation scheme, following the resignation of John Nagle last year.

Icare confirmed remuneration for the position has been set at $821,694.20 plus a 50 per cent bonus.

‘Greedy and out of touch’

Unions and Labor have slammed the decision to award Mr Harding a $120,000 payrise on his predecessor as greedy, offensive and out of touch.

“It’s just another kick in the guts to our hardworking public sector workers who found out just before Christmas that they weren’t considered worthy of a pay rise despite keeping us safe during the COVID-19 pandemic,” Unions NSW Secretary Mark Morey said.

Opposition finance spokesman Daniel Mookhey described the government’s decision as astounding.

He said Mr Harding now earned almost three times as much as Chief NSW Medical Officer Dr Kerry Chant, who was last year named NSW Public Servant of the Year for her efforts against COVID.

“High salaries and lavish bonuses led to the ruin of the NSW workers compensation system,” Mr Mookey said.

“Instead of handing out a pay rise to icare’s new leader, (Treasurer) Dominic Perrotett should have put a stop to exorbitant salaries and bonus payments.

Rebuilding trust

Mr Harding was previously CEO at listed general insurer Tower Insurance in New Zealand between 2015-2020, and Australia’s last government-owned commercial insurer Territory Insurance Office (TIO).

At Tower, Mr Harding invested heavily in new IT systems in a move to transform the organisation into digital insurer.

Mr Harding said he’s looking forward to addressing the challenges facing icare and working to rebuild trust in the battered organisation.

“There’s no doubt it’s been a turbulent time for icare and I look forward to working with the Board and the executive to ensure we restore public confidence and deliver on key remediation activities,” Mr Harding said in a statement on Wednesday. 

Mr Harding starts with icare next Monday, January 18.

His appointment follows the announcement last month of two new icare board members  disability advocate John Walsh and financial services leader Michael Cameron.

Icare confirmed last year that 200 executives took home bonuses,  with its eight top executives pocketing $4 million in a single year.

The Legislative Assembly is due to vote on a Labor proposal to stop executive bonuses at the insurer in February.

Comment below to have your say on this story.

If you have a news story or tip-off, get in touch at editorial@governmentnews.com.au.  

Sign up to the Government News newsletter

One thought on “New icare CEO to become state’s highest paid public servant

  1. Front line workers had to take a pay cut, businesses closing down everywhere, and yet this government seems to find $1.2 million to fund the new CEO of Icare. While icare seriously needs an overhaul, I can’t help but wonder exactly what Mr Harding’s real intentions are Does he intend to improve icare for the general public or was he given the position so Liberal can have full control.

Leave a comment:

Your email address will not be published. All fields are required