John Neal of QBE who said today some recent decisions were ‘inconsistent with the board’s expectations’. Picture: Renee Nowytarger / The Australian.
John Neal of QBE who said today some recent decisions were ‘inconsistent with the board’s expectations’. Picture: Renee Nowytarger / The Australian.

QBE chief's pay docked $550,000 over affair

QBE boss John Neal has had his pay docked by $550,000 for failing to notify the board in a timely manner of a romantic relationship with his personal assistant.

QBE, which reported a full-year profit of $US844 million ($A1.1 billion) today, was pleased with Mr Neal's performance leading the company but outlined why his bonus had been cut by $552,500.

"His performance is well regarded by the board," QBE said today in its annual report.

"However, both parties agree some recent personal decisions by the chief executive have been inconsistent with the board's expectations."

QBE's code of conduct states that employees must disclose to their manager any close personal relationship that may cause a conflict of interest.

Mr Neal split with his wife last year. In the second half of the year it is understood that he started a relationship with his personal assistant, who is also the personal assistant to the board.

She is understood to be of a similar age to Mr Neal, who is 53.

Mr Neal notified the board of the relationship in January, several months after the relationship began.

His personal assistant has now decided to leave QBE and will be departing the company in due course.

Mr Neal told a press conference this morning that he had failed to disclose the relationship to the board in a timely manner.

"In all honesty, it is a deeply private matter and I don't want to speak about it further," he said.

There is no suggestion of inappropriate behaviour by Mr Neal.

This year Mr Neal was paid $2,210,117 in short-term incentives in a total remuneration package of $3.029 million.

The move comes after Seven West Media chief Tim Worner had his pay cut by $100,000 for having an 18-month affair with personal assistant Amber Harrison.

News Corp Australia

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