BP paid Horton 1.5m pounds after forcing him to step down

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ROBERT HORTON, ousted as chairman and chief executive of British Petroleum in a boardroom coup last June, has received pounds 1.5m in compensation from the oil giant, writes Neil Thapar.

The payoff, first revealed by the Independent last November, has been disclosed in BP's 1992 annual report, out yesterday.

Mr Horton received pounds 780,000 as compensation for loss of office and another pounds 722,740 was paid as a special contribution to his pension plan. The sum is one of the largest received by a company boss in the UK, but several others have received even larger sums. They include Peter Scott, who received pounds 2.2m as former head of Aegis, the media buyer, and Sir Ralph Halpern, the former Burton Group boss, who received pounds 2m.

Mr Horton was forced to step down over policy differences and a personality clash with fellow directors. His departure was followed by a halving of last year's quarterly dividend to 2.1p a share.

Mr Horton's job was split, with Lord Ashburton taking over as part-time chairman, while David Simon, Mr Horton's former deputy, was appointed chief executive.

Mr Simon, who has staked his reputation on turning BP around, was paid a total of pounds 535,000 in basic and performance-related pay last year, down from pounds 557,000 in 1991. Lord Ashburton received a salary of pounds 91,000 from 26 June, when he took the chair.

The company reported a net loss of pounds 458m for the year to 31 December, compared with a taxable profit of pounds 415m in 1991.