Sunday 15 September 2019

Ex-BoI boss Boucher defends CRH chief's €8m earnings

Deals: CRH chief executive Albert Manifold said emerging markets won’t be an M&A focus
Deals: CRH chief executive Albert Manifold said emerging markets won’t be an M&A focus
CRH non-executive director Richie Boucher
John Mulligan

John Mulligan

FORMER Bank of Ireland boss Richie Boucher has defended the pay structure for CRH CEO Albert Manifold, who earned a total of €8.2m last year.

Mr Boucher, who joined CRH as a non-executive director last year and serves as the chairman of the group's remuneration committee, told CRH shareholders at the company's annual general meeting yesterday that Mr Manifold's pay reflects the group's performance and scale.

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Mr Boucher, who was paid a total of €958,000 in his last full year as CEO at Bank of Ireland, said that the two CRH executive directors - Mr Manifold and group finance director Senan Murphy - are "very good". "We compete on an international scale," he added. "We are a very, very substantial business and we compete for talent. We have to ensure that we have the best possible people available to us."

Mr Manifold's remuneration package last year consisted of a base salary of €1.45m, benefits of €55,000 and retirement benefits of €684,000. He also received a cash bonus of €2m and deferred shares worth €681,000. Additionally, he benefited from long-term incentives worth almost €3.3m.

Mr Boucher said that CRH's remuneration committee had spent considerable time over the past year engaging with shareholders regarding executive pay structure.

"We considered what we had to do to drive long-term performance in the company," he said. "We went back to 70pc of shareholders in October with a set of proposals which we hoped would meet our strategic objectives and also address their [shareholders'] issues."

He said revised proposals were then put to those shareholders in January, which were voted on - and approved - at yesterday's AGM.

Potential bonuses and share payments are based on achieving targets around elements such as total shareholder return, cash flow and return on net assets.

CRH's non-executive board members include Glanbia CEO Siobhan Talbot.

She was criticised this week at Glanbia's AGM for receiving a 22pc pay increase. Just over 20pc of shares were voted against her pay hike at the meeting.

Mr Manifold declined to confirm yesterday if CRH has hired Bank of America to launch the estimated €2bn sales process for the group's European distribution arm.

He said that the company continues to evaluate whether or not the division "is right for the family of CRH or not". Mr Manifold confirmed there has been interest in the unit.

He also said that emerging markets will not be a focus for the group in any upcoming M&A activity.

Mr Manifold said it's easier for CRH to create value by buying assets in established markets.

Irish Independent

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