Anthony Hilton: Logica's sell-off makes Read's words piquant

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The Independent Online

It was off that the takeover of the technology services company Logica should be announced on Thursday, because on Tuesday I had breakfast with Martin Read, whom I first met back in the 1990s when he was in charge of that same business.

Today he has the unusual – and challenging – task of arguing the case for remuneration consultants and trying to explain from the corporate side the difficulties you confront in deciding how much the company should pay to the person in the top job.

He does it, and likes doing it, he says, because although the process of setting executive pay attracts its share of flak, it is also one of the most fascinating intellectual challenges in business. He is in a position to know. In his post-Logica, non-executive career he has chaired the remuneration committees of Boots, British Airways and now Invensys.

Logica is being bought by a Canadian company, which means that in the past 12 months three of our most powerful technology businesses – Misys, Autonomy and now Logica – will have been sold abroad. It makes all the more piquant a remark by Mr Read that when he ran Logica all those years ago, "the drive for me was to create a British IT services house which was the best in the world. The money did not really come into it."

How many of today's business leaders would say the same?