As reported earlier today, CPA Australia has disclosed the salaries of key executives, including Alex Malley, and each director of the association and its subsidiary, CPA Australia Advice.
This follows swelling discontent from a group of CPA members, led by NSW-based accountant Brett Stevenson.
The salaries paid are notably higher than that of other representative bodies, but Mr Malley noted the larger size and scale of CPA Australia when compared to bodies such as Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand (CA ANZ.)
“CPA Australia has record numbers in most of its metrics. We have a 98.3 per cent retention rate, we have a surplus that we’ve accumulated that’s double what we achieved in the 120-odd years before it,” Mr Malley told Accountants Daily.
“CPA Australia, in turnover, is now …certainly within the top 10 in its space in the world. We’ve had record growth in the Asian market and we have a lot to be proud of. All of these are realities of our business,” he said.
“We’ve now attracted some 7,000 members from other bodies,” he said.
Mr Malley feels that CPA Australia has been unfairly targeted and scrutinised given its growth under his leadership, and when compared to the public treatment of other professional bodies.
“In contrast, the CA ANZ, whose record stands as our does publicly, has not had one comment about performance,” Mr Malley said.
He has also called on other leaders of representative bodies, including the new chief executive of CA ANZ Rick Ellis, to equally disclose details of their remuneration.
A member rebellion - which has seen movements such as petitions for remuneration disclosure and requests for the full register of members - is not reflective of the entire membership, Mr Malley believes.
“We have 160,000 independent-minded members. In a large population of any kind, you will never please all the people all the time,” he said.
A principal complaint of the member rebellion has been the speed at which CPA Australia has responded to their requests for remuneration disclosure. Mr Malley said the organisation had to take a structured and considered approach to disclosure, which is why it was not immediate.
“We looked at it and decided we don’t change policy without thinking it through, we don’t change policy because the media says we should,” he said. “We were working through that calmly, and properly, in a dignified way.”
The toll of the member rebellion and scrutiny of Mr Malley’s leadership has been significant, and has spilled into his personal and family life.
Mr Malley has received death threats, faeces in the mail, and has employed security at his own cost to monitor his home. He has engaged with the police to deal with some of these matters.
“On the iceberg principle - people see a little point above the water. The enormity of what has been going on under the water, the impact on people, the impact on families, is absolutely unbelievable,” he said.
“I have seven children, they are all impacted by this, and I have a family that lives in a home that has now been publicly recorded and addressed. If anyone who has been critical of me thinks that’s ok, then I’m comfortable to say I agree to disagree with all of them,” he said.
Moving forward, and in light of the president and chair Tyrone Carlin standing down, as confirmed this morning, Accountants Daily asked Mr Malley about the future of his leadership, which he was positive about.
“Of course that’s always subject to the board. We’ve got the next stage of work to do and we’re encouraged and inspired by our results so far,” Mr Malley said.
More to come.