Lonrho directors in pounds 2.4m pay-off

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The Independent Online
DIRECTORS of Lonrho who have reached retirement age and are already drawing pensions will receive six-figure pay-offs together worth nearly pounds 2.4m to compensate them for loss of office when they step down from executive duties later this year.

The move, expected to provoke an outcry in the City, has been outlined in documents for shareholders' approval at the annual meeting of the international trading conglomerate on 25 March.

Paul Spicer, 66, and Robert Dunlop, 64, both deputy chairmen, will each receive pounds 772,624; Rene Leclezio, 74, group chairman will be paid dollars 732,000 and pounds 120,000; and Sir Peter Youens, 77, a director, pounds 300,000.

All are regarded as supporters of Tiny Rowland, 76, who is fighting a boardroom battle against fellow joint chief executive Dieter Bock, nearly 20 years his junior.

Mr Dunlop, Mr Spicer and Sir Peter will retain directorships in subsidiary companies with which they are associated until 1998. Their remuneration for that period is included in the pay-offs.

However, Mr Bock has failed to dislodge Mr Rowland.

Directors who have already reached retirement age and turned 70 will not be required to retire by rotation at an annual meeting once past the age of 65. In future, any Lonrho director over the age of 65 will have to retire by rotation at an annual meeting.

The accounts show that Mr Rowland received a salary of pounds 1.62m in the financial year ending last September compared with pounds 1.65m a year earlier.

In his farewell statement as chairman, Mr Leclezio tells shareholders in the report and accounts that he will be leaving the company after serving Lonrho for 29 years 'and as your chairman for the last two years'.

'Since I joined Lonrho, its market capitalisation has increased from pounds 2m to over the billion mark. It has been a privilege to work in such an entrepreneurial environment.'