Media chief David Gyngell is Australia's highest-paid boss with $21 million

SYDNEY (AFP) - The head of leading Australian media group Nine Entertainment, David Gyngell, was the country's best paid boss in 2014, raking in A$19.6 million (S$21 million), a survey showed Wednesday.

Gyngell, who made international headlines when he dramatically tussled with casino mogul James Packer at Sydney's Bondi Beach in May, had a base salary of A$2.7 million, the Australian Financial Review said in its annual executive survey.

But he pocketed millions more in short-term and long-term incentives throughout the year, including A$2.5 million for taking the company to a listing on the Australian Stock Exchange.

Coming in a distant second was Kevin Chin, the chief of little-known investment group Arowana International, who had a base pay of A$30,000 but took home an additional cash bonus of A$13.3 million - also for an IPO on the New Zealand stock exchange.

News Corporation's Robert Thomson rounded up the top three with a package of A$13.2 million.

While banking and mining firms are significant movers of the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index, the highest-renumerated boss among the two sectors was Nicholas Moore of investment house Macquarie Group.

He was paid Aus$13.1 million while Westpac Bank's Gail Kelly, one of Australia's most powerful female chief executives before stepping down last month, was ranked seventh with Aus$11.0 million.

Flying the flag for the mining sector was Rio Tinto boss Sam Walsh, who came ninth for making Aus$9.8 million, ahead of Andrew MacKenzie, who as chief of the world's largest resources firm BHP Billiton was paid A$7.6 million.

Their renumeration pales in comparison to some global executives, including Cheniere Energy's Charif Souki, who received US$142 million to become the highest-paid CEO in the United States last year, according to a New York Times and Equilar Atlas survey.