Kerry chiefs enjoy average of 30pc pay rise
THE four top managers at Kerry Group enjoyed average pay rises of almost 30pc last year, bringing their collective bounty to €4.9m.
And the quartet have no chance of having their 2010 packages voted down by investors after Kerry decided against giving investors a "say on pay" at the food plc's AGM.
Kerry's latest annual report shows its chief executive Stan McCarthy earned €1.75m last year after pocketing a rise of about €200,000.
The figure is more than three times as much as the salary cap for chief executives of Ireland's bailed-out banks.
Kerry's spokesman stressed that Mr McCarthy's package should be viewed in the context of its international food peers rather than in the context of other executives at home.
The spokesman also pointed out that the packages of Mr McCarthy and Kerry's other executives were performance driven. "If they don't hit the targets, they don't get bonuses," he stressed.
Mr McCarthy got a performance-related payment of €833,000 last year -- €23,000 more than his base salary.
Finance boss Brian Mehigan got a bonus of €426,000 on a salary of €460,000; Kerry Foods boss Flor Healy got a bonus of €481,000 and a salary of €500,000 and Kerry Ingredients boss Gerry Behan got a bonus of €603,000 on a salary of €465,000. The bonuses came as Kerry notched up a 6pc rise in pretax profits last year, declaring its strategy had come through the recession with "flying colours".
Shares in the plc are hovering around all-time highs, and this year's guidance is for an 11pc earnings rise.
Fund management group the Irish Association of Investment Managers has been pushing hard for plcs to give shareholders a "say on pay" and many are expected to allow investors to vote on top executives' pay at this year's AGMs.
Kerry's spokesman confirmed there were no plans to have such a vote at the group's May AGM, though the issue would be "considered" for 2010. Kerry executives' base salaries have been frozen since 2008, and will remain frozen this year, he added.
Mr McCarthy is comfortably the best-paid Kerry executive, but Mr Beehan booked the biggest increase last year, as his package surged from €575,000 to €1.1m in 2009 -- after his promotion to head up Kerry's ingredients and US business.