Greenbury leaks attacked

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The Independent Online
Sir Denys Henderson, former chairman of ICI and Zeneca and a member of the Greenbury Committee, yesterday stepped into the executive pay row, warning that attacks on Sir Richard Greenbury threatened to put prominent businessmen off such future appointments.

Sir Denys described the vilification of Sir Richard, "one of this country's most successful businessmen", as "quite disgraceful".

He also condemned the leaks that flowed from the committee "right from the inception, despite the fact that all committee members swore a Trappist vow of silence". He said: "This was pretty distasteful, particularly as personal integrity was something I had always been able to count on in companies with which I have been associated."

Sir Denys, chairman of the Rank Organisation, told the Institute of Management's companions annual lunch: "I am sure that those asked to participate in future 'pro bono' studies will think longer and harder before agreeing to add to their heavy workload."

Sir Denys reiterated the committee's view that there was "no good reason" why executive share option schemes should receive favoured tax treatment compared with other long-term incentive schemes.

"Neither is there any obvious reason why executive share option schemes should receive favourable tax treatment at all. We knew that would produce an outcry, but we emphasised strongly that our proposals related to executive share option schemes and not to SAYE or other schemes available to employees," he added.

He regretted that in the furore over stock options, much of "the excellent work" done by the committee in other areas had been overlooked. The "remuneration UK companies offer must be sufficient to attract, retain and motivate directors".