Letter: Boardroom pay

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The Independent Culture
Sir: It is sad to see the Trade and Industry Secretary resort to the tired and inappropriate analogy of sports stars to justify levels of directors' pay ("Byers: No limits on directors' pay", 20 July).

In terms of social utility the director of a successful company may well be a greater contributor. But sports stars and their like are essentially individuals, dependent on their individual skills, even if supported by an entourage hitched to their wagon.

Directors and managers in general depend on a network of human skills and energies in the organisations they direct or manage. This is not to belittle the complex task of harnessing those skills and energies to a given end; it is to emphasise that leadership is a part of management and example a part of leadership.

If directors are perceived to be motivated simply by money, with commitment, pride in the company and example to others playing no part, then we are in the world of the mercenaries. And it may well be that acceptance of money as the sole motivator encourages the belief that companies are simply properties to be bought and sold to the highest bidder, regardless of the fact that these are complex entities in whose success money plays a necessary part, but only a part.

Sir GEOFFREY CHANDLER

London SE10

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