The business on...Alan Brown, Chief executive, Rentokil Initial


So he's the rat-catcher-in-chief?


Rentokil does indeed have a pest control business, but it has other strings to its bow, too – everything from cleaning to courier services.

How's it doing?

Pretty well thanks. It made a £77m profit in the first half of this year, it said yesterday, up by 39 per cent on the same period of 2009.

Where there's muck there's brass?

Quite – and not just for the company. Mr Brown and two other management colleagues are in line for a tidy windfall if they can keep the good times going.

That sounds good.

You don't know the half of it. Mr Brown's contract stipulates that if he can get Rentokil's share price above a series of trigger points – 120p, 180p and 280p – he'll get shares worth more than £30m.

Wow, how's that going?

The price has been hovering at around the 105p mark, so he's not far off the first trigger.

Is he really worth so much?

Well, Mr Brown and his colleagues were brought in two years ago from ICI where they were credited with rescuing what had been a struggling company. At the time, Rentokil faced all sorts of problems, particularly at City Link, its courier business, prompting a series of profit warnings. If the new brooms hit those share price targets, they'll also have created plenty of value for shareholders who haven't had much to crow about in recent times.

The investors are happy then?

Not all of them. The critics point out that these are absolute benchmarks, whereas most companies set relative targets, where managers have to do better than rivals to get bonuses. In theory, all Mr Brown needs is for the stock market as a whole to rise for a while and he'll be quids in.

What will he do with the money?

Well, he's a motor sports enthusiast, so maybe he'll add to his vintage cars collection. He already owns a 1931 Invicta and a 1972 Porsche.

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