James Moore: Bankers aren't the only ones on big pay packets
Saturday 18 December 2010
Outlook: Talking of bankers and bonuses, the executives at non-banking companies will be more thanhappy to see another round of blood-letting on that ever contentious issue. All that focus on the City's pin-striped brigade has taken the spotlight off them.
This has enabled remuneration committees to quietly – and with precious little justification – juice their pay packets despite the struggles of their companies during the recession.
I remember reading the annual report of Aviva in the middle of the downturn. Its exec's didn't takerises, so as to share in everyone's pain, but the report made it quite clear that, despite their seven figure salaries, it was felt that they were really quite poorly paid by the standards of rivals. That was even after the extra cream in their packets for the "one Aviva twice the value" campaign that was then running – a spurious exercise given that the campaign's aims (doubling earnings per share or some such) should have just been a standard part of an executive's job.
But it is not just Aviva. Pick up a handful of annual reports and turn to the remuneration section and you will see similar whining on behalf of people who are, when all is said and done, simply very senior managers. (The average FTSE 100 boss is only very rarely an entrepreneur, or anything like it.) Managers whose pay has been allowed to stealthily rise while we've all been concentrating on bashing bankers. Perhaps it's time for the spotlight to shift a little.
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