Dixons chief makes pounds 1.1m from options

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The Independent Online
Directors of Dixons, the electrical retailer, made pounds 2.8m from the sale of share options last year. Sir Stanley Kalms, the group's outspoken chairman, and finance director, Robert Shrager, cashed in virtually their entire entitlement.

Sir Stanley was the largest beneficiary, recording a gain of pounds 1.1m on the sale of options. This was in addition to his pounds 889,000 salary and the pounds 5.7m he made from the sale of more than a million shares in February. That action came just days after he attacked a broker for issuing a sell note on the company's shares. The combination of salary, shares and options sales means Sir Stanley made pounds 7.7m from Dixons last year.

The company said the sale of options was a personal matter for the directors and should not be taken as an indication of their confidence in the future of the business, adding that some options had been cashed in because they were due to expire: "It is their entitlement to cash them in when the time is right for them. It is purely for personal reasons."

Sir Stanley, who has built up Dixons from a one-store family business, said there was no point in hanging on to his shares forever. "What am I going to do, take them to my grave?" he asked last month. "I can see my tombstone. Stanley Kalms lies here, along with his Dixons shares."

The combative retailer still retains more than 2 million shares in the business. However, he now has only 7,000 options left. His pounds 893,000 salary represented an increase of pounds 28,000 on the previous year.

Robert Shrager, finance director, also made pounds 1m from share option sales last year. Together with his pounds 227,000 salary, down from pounds 295,000 the year before, this took his total gain to pounds 1.3m.

The other director to sell virtually his entire entitlement of options was Mark Souhami, the deputy chairman who has been with the group for 27 years. He made a profit of pounds 485,000 from the sale of more than 200,000 options and has just 4,400 left.

The only director who did not choose to cash in was John Clare, chief executive. He realised pounds 162,000 from share option sales last year but sold less than 10 per cent of his total. However, he made pounds 400,000 from share option sales in the previous financial year, more than any other director. Last year his total pay fell from pounds 438,000 to pounds 352,000.

Dixons has enjoyed an excellent year with its sales boosted by rising consumer confidence and the impact of the building society windfalls. Last month it reported soaring like-for-like sales gains, saying its stores were feeling the benefit of the windfall money as soon as the cheques hit consumers' doormats.

The group will create 3,000 jobs this year as it invests pounds 100m opening stores across its portfolio of formats which includes Currys, PC World and The Link.