C&W chief's annual pay exceeds pounds 3m

DICK BROWN, the chief executive of Cable & Wireless, received a pay package worth more than pounds 3m last year and is in line to collect a further pounds 3m in share options and long-term incentives.

Mr Brown's pay packet makes the US-born businessman one of the best-paid company chiefs in the UK, outstripping by far his counterpart at BT, Sir Peter Bonfield.

C&W's annual report, sent to shareholders yesterday, shows that Mr Brown earned a salary and annual bonus of pounds 1.16m in 1997. But in addition to that he was awarded a deferred bonus worth pounds 1.46m and allocation of shares under the company's long-term incentive scheme worth a further pounds 488,000.

He has also received a notional allocation of shares for next year worth just over pounds 1m and has existing share options which, at the current share price of 694.5p, are showing a paper profit of pounds 2m.

The total value of shares awarded to C&W's executive directors last year under its long-term incentive scheme is pounds 1.48m. The second highest-paid director is Linus Cheung, chief executive of the group's Hongkong Telecom subsidiary, who was paid salary and annual bonuses of pounds 927,000.

The bumper pay packets follow a year in which C&W has pulled off a string of deals. It has raised more than pounds 1bn through asset disposals and regrouped the UK cable industry under the leadership of its Mercury subsidiary.

C&W has also forged an alliance with Telecom Italia and leapfrogged into a commanding position on the Internet by acquiring MCI's transatlantic internet traffic business in a deal struck last week.

Both C&W's short-term and long-term bonus schemes pay out 60 per cent of salary depending on company performance set against pre-set targets.

Mr Brown was at one time linked with the vacant job of running AT&T last year, which resulted in the board authorising further improvements in his remuneration package.