Friday 20 April 2018

Persimmon bosses to hand back £50 million in bonuses

Chief executive Jeff Fairburn will see his near-£100 million award trimmed by £25 million.

Persimmon flags, as bosses hand back a slice of their bonuses following a furore over pay (PA)
Persimmon flags, as bosses hand back a slice of their bonuses following a furore over pay (PA)

By Ben Woods, Press Association Chief City Correspondent

Bosses at Persimmon have moved to calm the furore over their hefty pay packets by handing back around £50 million in bonuses.

Chief executive Jeff Fairburn will see his near-£100 million award trimmed by £25 million after slashing the number of shares he can gain under a controversial 2012 long-term incentive plan (LTIP).

Chief financial officer Mike Killoran will have £24 million lopped off his £78 million payout, while Dave Jenkinson faces a smaller sum of £2.5 million being snipped from a £40 million award.

The cuts are based on the housebuilder’s closing share price on Thursday. Future payouts for three executives will also be capped a £29 per share.

In a statement, Persimmon defended the creation of the much-criticised pay plan, saying the LTIP had been a “significant factor in the company’s outstanding performance”.

The latest twist comes after Mr Fairburn moved to deflect stinging criticism over his bonus last week by announcing plans to hand over a “substantial amount” of the award to charity.

The under-fire chief said he would set up a private charitable trust to support a number of charities selected by himself and his family.

Persimmon has faced mounting pressure from politicians and some shareholders over the long-term incentive plan introduced by the company six years ago, which was set to pay out more than £200 million.

We are pleased that in the end Persimmon’s board has listened to shareholder concerns on pay Ashley Hamilton Claxton

Royal London Asset Management (RLAM), which holds a 0.5% stake in Persimmon, said the pay awards were still “extremely generous” even after the cuts.

Ashley Hamilton Claxton, head of responsible investment at RLAM, said: “We are pleased that in the end Persimmon’s board has listened to shareholder concerns on pay.

“This incident has been a classic corporate governance failure and highlights the need for remuneration committees to step up and make decisions if circumstances beyond a company’s control change.

“We have consistently called for remuneration committees and boards to use their discretion when faced with pay outs that are unacceptable and are pleased that in this case the company has finally recognised the need to do this.

“However, even after this reduction, in our view the scale of the remuneration on offer under this plan is still extremely generous given the government’s support for the sector through the Help To Buy scheme.”

While the LTIP was approved by 85% of shareholders in 2012, the controversy engulfing the company forced chairman Nicholas Wrigley and remuneration committee chairman Jonathan Davie to resign late last year.

Press Association

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