Directors net bumper bonuses

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The Independent Online
It was another bonanza day for "fat cats" yesterday, as top executives at Cordiant, P&O and British Borneo, and three former directors of House of Fraser all enjoyed bumper handouts.

Three directors who left the troubled department stores group House of Fraser received more than pounds 700,000 between them for loss of office, according to the company's annual report. Andrew Jennings, former chief executive, was paid pounds 256,000, while ex-finance director Richard Scott received pounds 157,000 in compensation as well as over pounds 150,000 in pay. Former operations director Tony Hancock received another pounds 141,000.

At shipping group P&O, the company's chairman, Lord Sterling, received a pounds 184,000 pay rise to pounds 771,000 for 1996, which included a pounds 163,000 bonus and benefits of pounds 60,000. This was despite pre-tax profits at P&O growing by a relatively pedestrian 4 per cent to pounds 332.8m as competition from the Channel Tunnel squeezed its ferries operation.

British Borneo's chief executive, Alan Gaynor, and finance director, Bill Colvin, the two moving spirits behind the dynamic growth of the company, exercised options which brought them shares worth pounds 4.5m and pounds 2.8m respectively. Mr Gaynor exercised options over 359,000 shares at between 137p and 179.5p, sold 206,000 at pounds 12.30 and added the rest to his existing holdings. He now owns 204,482 shares.

Meanwhile five top directors at Cordiant, the advertising and marketing group which is to split into three parts later this year, received a rise in total emoluments of 25 per cent in 1996, according to the last set of report and accounts before the split.

The combined benefits for the five increased by over pounds 1m in 1996, as sharp increases in bonus payments pushed the total wage bill close to pounds 3.5m from pounds 2.4m in 1995. The report also revealed that the five hold options worth pounds 4.341m, exercisable at various prices over periods running from 1997 up to 2006.

Average bonuses in 1996 doubled to 50 per cent of salary from 25 per cent of salary in 1995, pushing total bonus payments, which are set by hitting revenue and profitability targets, to pounds 991,000 from pounds 411,000 in 1995.

A company spokesman said the payments were set against a background of a pounds 60m profit turnaround. In 1996 the company recorded a pounds 41.8m pre-tax profit compared with a pounds 22.6m loss in 1995.

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