Defence giant BAE Systems today denied that its chief executive stands to make £18 million if the firm's merger with Airbus aircraft manufacturer EADS goes ahead.
The company said a report saying that Ian King has accumulated lucrative share options and would be paid a giant windfall straight away was "grossly misleading".
A statement responding to the Daily Mail article said: "Over a period of 36 years Ian King has accumulated shares, and options over shares, which he has chosen not to cash in, in view of his long commitment to the company.
"The amounts mentioned in the article are wildly speculative and inaccurate. Many of the options that Mr King could have cashed in are not related to the proposed transaction. As the article notes it is not clear whether any or all of the options would actually be paid out in the event the proposed transaction does proceed.
"The Daily Mail also states that Ian King's long-term incentives for this year have been increased to 300% of his salary; this is incorrect and there has been no change to his remuneration package."
The deal will require the approval of the British, French and German governments if it is to go ahead.
UK unions are seeking assurances over jobs, although officials fear there will be job losses in the long term if the deal does not go ahead.