A recent plunge in Fortescue Metals' (ASE:FMG) shares has left the pockets of its best paid executive AUD$35 million lighter.
According to Fairfax Meurs, the company's development manager, incurred the loss in the 2012 financial year after taking part in a share buying scheme at the behest of company founder Andrew Forrest.
Meurs is nonetheless the recipient of immense largesse from Fortescue and remains the best remunerated member of its management team. Figures from the Fortescue's annual report released yesterday indicate that he received total remuneration of $8.1 million for the year to June 30, dwarfing the $3 million received by company CEO Nev Power.
His current losses are the result of a decision to buy $100 million in Fortescue shares following Andrew Forrest's offer of guarantee loans to facilitate the purchase.
The shares were picked up en masse by Meurs when their price was just shy of $6, translating to a loss of around $35 million for at their current levels.
Fortescue has suffered of late alongside other Australian commodities suppliers as a result of declines in spot prices and withering demand from China. As a pure iron ore player the company is highly vulnerable to any adverse vicissitudes in price levels.
Fortescue shares have been further hampered by the company's onerous debt burden, with the company obtaining a provisional reprieve last month following the extension of a $4.5 billion credit facility.