C&W chief holds out for US-style package

GRAHAM WALLACE, who took over yesterday as the new chief executive of Cable & Wireless, is holding out for an American-style pay package similar to the one earned by his predecessor, Dick Brown.

Mr Wallace, formerly chief executive of Cable & Wireless Communications, said that he had not yet finalised his terms and conditions with the C&W chairman Sir Ralph Robins. "I will be sticking out for a competitive package. You can make what you like of that," he added.

The promotion to the top job at C&W, the majority shareholder in CWC with a 53 per cent stake, could see him double his salary. Before joining CWC two years ago he was chief executive of Granada's services and restaurants division.

Mr Brown, who quit C&W in December to return to the US as chairman and chief executive of the computer giant EDS, earned pounds 1.16m last year. He also received C&W shares worth pounds 600,000 under the company's long-term incentive plan and would have received additional deferred bonuses worth pounds 1.67m had he stayed with the group until April 2001.

Mr Wallace earned pounds 567,834 last year as chief executive of CWC, including a bonus of pounds 165,000. He also received 35,132 shares under the company's long-term incentive scheme, currently worth just under pounds 248,000.

Mr Wallace said yesterday that he intended to stick broadly to the strategy set out by his predecessor but that under his leadership C&W would accelerate its investment in Internet and data traffic. Last year C&W bought the transatlantic Internet business of MCI and has since acquired Net service providers in Germany and Hong Kong. Mr Wallace said the next 12 months was likely to see similar deals. C&W also intended to co-ordinate its global, Internet and data activities more closely.

He said there would be more investment in the US but C&W was not actively looking for a mega-merger partner across the Atlantic, nor was it interested in entering the auction for Telecom Italia.

Mr Wallace added that further consolidation was likely in the cable industry and that there would be "some logic" to CWC acquiring Telewest.

Commenting on the repeated speculation that C&W would buy out Media One of the US, its 50 per cent partner in the mobile-telephone venture, One2One, he said C&W had several options. It was not "imperative" to take 100 per cent control.

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