£200,000 for one day week at Glaxo

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The Independent Online
Sir Colin Corness, the recently appointed chairman of pharmaceuticals giant Glaxo, is being paid £200,000 a year for doing as little as one day a week of work.

The deal makes him one of the highest paid non-executive chairmen in Britain. The details of the deal were revealed as Glaxo's directors' contracts became available for public inspection under takeover rules following the launch of the company's £9bn bid for Wellcome.

Sir Colin's appointment as chairman was advanced from May to last month.

The contract stipulates Sir Colin's duties are to chair the company's audit, remuneration, and senior emoluments committees. The contract says it is anticipated that Sir Colin will work one to two days a week on company business.

Sir Colin also gets the use of a company car and driver. His London home is within five minutes walk of the Glaxo's Berkeley Square head office.

A spokesman for the company said the deal was justified. "We believe it is a fair salary for a man of Sir Colin's experience and who is at the top of one of Britain's most successful companies."

Sir Colin had been chairman of Redland, the construction materials company. He is also on the Court of the Bank of England, chairman of the Nationwide building society and a non executive director at SG Warburg, the merchant bank.

His £200,000 a year far outstrips the average paid to any chairman of Britain's largest companies, who earn an average of £57,000 for 30 days a year, according to a survey published by Sedgwick Noble Lowndes, the pay consultants.

Sir Colin succeeds Sir Paul Girolami, who, as executive chairman of the company, was one of Britain's highest paid directors. Last year, Sir Paul received £2.1m. In 1993 he was paid £5.1m, £3.2m, of which was to fund a deficit on his pension arrangements.

The news of Sir Colin's pay deal comes hard on the heels of revelations that Wellcome directors stand to benefit by £4.5m if the Glaxo takeover bid succeeds.

The biggest winner is John Robb, chairman and chief executive of the company, whose share options are worth £960,000 at the current Wellcome share price.