The business on...Michael Queen, Chief executive, 3i

 

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The Independent Online

So 3i is hiking its divvy: will it see off Michael Queen's critics?

That's the big question. Mr Queen was gushing about a progressive dividend policy from a "substantially higher base" in yesterday's trading update. But major shareholders have been calling for a share buyback from Britain's biggest buyout firm, which has just been unceremoniously booted out of the FTSE 100.

Ouch! Will it mean Mr Queen will have to accept FTSE 250 rewards?

Don't put any money on it. Those same shareholders also raised alarm bells about the rewards Mr Queen is due to receive, despite what they saw as a less-than-stellar performance. More than a third voted down 3i's remuneration report as a result.

He's a 3i veteran though, surely he can pull through?

The 49-year-old Mr Queen has been with 3i since 1987. He took on the top job in 2009, having worked his way up from being a local director – part of 3i's unrivalled network around the UK sniffing out opportunities. Despite it all, he's got his work cut out given the economic climate.

Well, couldn't he go for a job in government if it all goes wrong?

Funny you should say that, but he's already been there. Between 1994 and 1996, he was seconded to the Treasury to help develop the private finance initiative in the NHS.

Oh dear

Yes. That's the same PFI which has been attracting opprobrium in recent days because of the ruinous cost some of the contracts – widely seen as a cynical way of keeping debt off the books of Great Britain plc by Gordon Brown – are imposing on hospitals.

So how much does he make?

A total of £1.3m for the year to 31 March, although that was down from £2m the previous year. Oh, and he also had options on 3.7m 3i shares plus 1.87m "performance shares" and a pension worth more than £4m. You can find the information in the annual report, which is at least honest enough to have in it a very unflattering graph comparing the total shareholder return of 3i to that of the FTSE All Share Index.

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