Business Irish

Friday 23 February 2018

The €7.2m man: Gary McGann is top-paid CEO

Smurfit Kappa chief executive is ISEQ's best-paid

Smurfit Kappa chief Gary McGann.
Smurfit Kappa chief Gary McGann.

Gavin McLoughlin and Sarah McCabe

Smurfit Kappa chief executive Gary McGann is the best-paid chief executive among the Irish Stock Exchange's top 20 companies.

The paper and packaging boss was paid €7.2m last year including more than €3m in share awards.

Our survey shows that company size and share price performance both play a role in determining salaries.

McGann was the highest-paid boss but his company's shares are the best performer in our sample and the fifth most valuable.

CRH is the ISEQ's biggest company but its boss Albert Manifold ranks third.

Ryanair is the second-most valuable company but chief executive Michael O'Leary comes in at 10th, behind recently departed Aer Lingus chief executive Christoph Mueller.

But the Mullingar resident owns 51 million shares in the airline he built virtually from scratch. Those shares are worth about €600m.

The top 10 earners on our list took home a total of €36.6m - about a third of what sport's biggest earner, boxer Floyd Mayweather, earned by himself in 2014. Still, the ten chief executives earned more than a thousand people on the average industrial wage.

Hays Ireland senior director Mike McDonagh said companies looking to attract a top-class chief executive need to make sure they align their remuneration scheme with the overall strategy.

"I think a good CEO is going to look at a new opportunity and a new challenge, and they're going to go for that if they can see that the board has got a really clear vision of what they want to do," Mr McDonagh said.

"You want to make sure that any bonuses, any share incentives or any of the other additional parts of the package are going to reflect the strategy of the organisation."

Mc Gann keeps a low profile but under his stewardship the paper and packaging group has surged ahead. Its share price is up more than 65pc in the last 12 months.

His pay package is impressive but is still dwarfed by that of Icon boss Ciaran Murray, who pulled in a staggering $12.22m - €11.6m at this week's rates. The Leopardstown-based company is listed on the Nasdaq but left the Irish exchange.

DCC boss Tommy Breen netted €3m. The conglomerate delisted from the ISE in 2013. Paddy Power, ICG and Newry-based fintech company First Derivatives have yet to deliver annual reports covering 2014 so their bosses weren't included.

The Sunday Independent survey looked at annual reports issued for the 2014 financial year. Figures were calculated by adding basic packages, including salaries and bonuses, to the value of share awards that vested or were exercised over the year.

Sunday Indo Business

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