Five share Woodrow payout

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The Independent Online
TAYLOR WOODROW, the property and construction group, paid pounds 1,406,000 in compensation to five directors who left the group during its management restructuring last year, writes Heather Connon.

A spokesman refused to reveal how much each was paid. The largest payment is likely to have been made to Peter Drew, the former chairman. His salary in 1991 was pounds 159,000 which, based on a three-year service contract, would have qualified him for at least pounds 477,000.

Three of the other directors - John Topping, Bob Smith and Lord Bellwin, a non-executive - retired during the year. Peter Hedges, head of the property arm, left in September. Colin Parsons, who succeeded Mr Drew as chairman, was paid pounds 158,000 during the year.

Taylor Woodrow lost pounds 66.1m in 1992 after a pounds 62.1m write-down of the value of its land and property assets, and its dividend was slashed from 9.5p to 1p. Despite that, it increased its contribution to the Conservative Party from pounds 90,975 to pounds 124,500.

The payments are likely to fuel a controversy over the level of payments made to former directors that began when it was revealed that Sir Ralph Halpern was given pounds 2m and a pounds 456,000 pension for life after he resigned as chairman and chief executive of Burton in 1990. Since then, a number of other companies have been criticised for paying large sums to directors who left in the wake of a poor performance at their companies.

This week it was revealed that directors and senior managers at London Weekend Television are likely to share a pounds 55m bonus that would make 15 of them millionaires.