Lasmo chief in 785,000 pounds pay-off

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The Independent Online
CHRIS GREENTREE, ousted as chief executive of Lasmo earlier this year, has received a pounds 785,000 pay-off from the North Sea oil and gas producer for loss of office.

In addition Lasmo has assigned insurance policies with a total estimated value of dollars 2.2m ( pounds 1.4m) as part of his settlement. The company said the policies were funded by periodic payments during Mr Greentree's 10 years of service and were equivalent to an annual pension of dollars 189,000 - about 28 per cent of his basic salary last year.

Mr Greentree, who had a three-year service contract with the company, was forced to step down under pressure from institutional investors following the disastrous pounds 1bn takeover of Ultramar in 1991. He has been succeeded by a fellow director, Joe Darby.

Last year Mr Greentree's pay also rose by 40 per cent to pounds 480,647 - including pounds 50,000 'performance-related' payments - despite a pounds 385m net loss incurred by the company during the same period. Lasmo's shares have tumbled from more than 300p before the takoever bid to a low of about 119p last year. Last year's dividend was also slashed from 8.5p to 3.3p to stem the company's cash drain.

However, a Lasmo source said that Mr Greentree could have pursued a claim for a much bigger pay-off as he had two years of his contract, drawn up under Oklahoma state laws, still to run.

The settlement is the second big pay-off in the UK oil sector in the past few months. Robert Horton, who was ousted as chairman and chief executive of Britihs Petroleum last year, received a total of pounds 1.5m, of which about half was a special contribution to his pension scheme.

Lasmo shares were unchanged at 152p yesterday. The company is planning to obtain an ADR listing next month.