Bock gains dual Lonrho success: Remuneration committee established

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The Independent Online
DIETER BOCK chipped away a bit more of the old Lonrho regime yesterday when an audit and a remuneration committee were established and staffed with non- executive directors.

This follows his success in getting the first non- executives for 20 years appointed to the board, and a fragile peace appears to be holding between him and Roland 'Tiny' Rowland, Lonrho's founder.

The board announced that its 16 members had reached unanimous agreement on the establishment and terms of reference of an audit committee and the establishment of a remuneration committee. Both are in line with the Cadbury committee's recommendations on corporate governance.

The balance of power on the two committees is evenly balanced between Mr Bock's and Mr Rowland's non-executive appointees.

Peter Harper, a director of Hanson, and Stephen Walls, chairman of Albert Fisher, the foods group, are Mr Bock's appointees, while Sir John Leahy, a former career diplomat who served as a director of the Observer when Lonrho owned it, is Mr Rowland's. The three sit on both committees and are joined by Rene Leclezio, the group chairman thought to support Mr Rowland, on the remuneration committee.

The remuneration committee will decide whether the large packages paid to executive directors are justified, although it is understood Mr Rowland's is sacrosanct.

Mike Smith, Lonrho-watcher at Fleming Securities, said: 'From Dieter's point of view he is obviously trying to move it along the lines to be a more responsible company, so he is comfortable to chip away, chip away, chip away.'

The bitter boardroom battle became public two weeks ago when Mr Rowland was quoted as saying that Mr Bock had done nothing for the group except hire expensive advisers.

Mr Bock bought an 18.8 per cent stake in Lonrho early this year and later became joint chief executive alongside Mr Rowland. He has campaigned for the group to be run on a more open basis to encourage institutional shareholders.