MAM boasts top-paid woman

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The Independent Online

Financial Correspondent

Carol Galley, joint deputy chairman of Mercury Asset Management, is believed to have become the City's highest-paid woman, with total pay and benefits of pounds 861,000 for 1994.

The package included a performance-related bonus of pounds 522,000 earned over the period since 1989, and a pounds 299,000 pensions contribution, according to MAM's annual report published yesterday.

Ms Galley is in charge of MAM's UK institutional business and is one of the company's most successful fund managers. She gained fame last year when MAM voted in favour of accepting Granada's bid for London Weekend Television, thereby drawing a stinging attack from LWT boss Greg Dyke.

As the takeover battle raged, Gerry Robinson, Granada chief executive, said: "There is no doubt that Carol is the key player." Mr Dyke, then still optimistic, said: "Whoever she backs becomes hot favourite."

Ms Gally, 45, is married to a German banker. She has been with MAM for 25 years and is said virtually to live in the office. She leaves the office early each Friday to visit her house in the south of France.

Hugh Stevenson, chairman of MAM, received total payments of pounds 487,000, of which pounds 250,000 was a performance-related bonus. His total was pounds 461,000 last time.

MAM's report revealed that 219 employees stand to share pounds 68.4m in a "golden handcuffs" bonus scheme if they stay for an "extended" period.

MAM also detailed the reorganisation following Swiss Bank Corporation's acquisition of Warburg for pounds 865m. Under the deal the cash and Warburg's 75 per cent stake in MAM will be returned to shareholders, leaving MAM a fully independent company. Despite persistent market rumours since the SBC takeover, no predatory bidder for MAM has emerged.