THE top earner at the Quinn Group almost trebled his pay to €1.2m in 2009 -- as the embattled Cavan group lurched to a record loss of almost €950m.
The massive payment to the un-named director is revealed in accounts published by the Quinn Group yesterday, six weeks after Anglo Irish Bank seized control of the conglomerate.
A spokesman for Quinn Group founder Sean Quinn failed to respond to queries on whether Mr Quinn, who was chairman for all of 2009, was the recipient of the €1.2m payment.
Notes to the accounts show the "highest-paid director" earned €447,000 the previous year and was paid the sum by a Quinn Group subsidiary.
Most of the group's subsidiaries don't file their own accounts, making it difficult to track down which company made the payments. Payments to named directors are rarely broken down.
The bumper remuneration of the top earner contributed to a 75pc surge in the Quinn Group's total directors' payments, which came in at €2.7m for 2009.
A spokesman for the group declined to comment on the identity of the "highest-paid earner", or on why the Quinn Group had increased his pay at a time when it was suffering such massive losses.
Bottom-line losses for the group soared from €20m in 2008 to more than €945m during 2009.
In a statement, newly installed Quinn Group boss Paul O'Brien described the results as "hugely disappointing" and stressed that the bulk of the losses stemmed from Quinn Insurance.
The insurer suffered operating losses of €644m in 2009, its last year before descending into administration on foot of a request from the Central Bank.
Mr O'Brien said 2009's pre-tax profits at the core manufacturing business came in at €104m, a result he described as "encouraging".
The manufacturing group continues to "operate profitably against a very difficult economic background" and should report "robust earnings for 2010".
A note accompanying the result estimates 2010's manufacturing turnover at about €658m -- marginally up on the previous year -- while pre-tax profits will be "in excess of €100m".
In their directors' report, the group's new bosses list several "risks and uncertainties" that weren't flagged in previous years including "employee recruitment and retention".
The directors note that the group's performance "depends largely on its employees" and says the "resignation of key individuals" could impact "adversely" on trading.
Several key executives have left following the Anglo takeover, but the directors are keen to retain the skills and experience of many of those who remain.
"To mitigate these issues [of losing staff], the group has implemented a number of schemes linked to its results that are designed to retain key individuals," the directors' report says.