Boss of struggling DIY chain Focus pocketed £900,000 last year

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The Independent Online

Bill Grimsey, the chief executive of Focus, received total pay of nearly £900,000 last year as the DIY retailer was fighting for survival, although his remuneration was boosted by hefty back payments.

Despite not receiving a bonus, his remuneration was £877,627, which included a company pension contribution of £51,187, for the year to 22 February 2009.

In August, Focus completed a company voluntary arrangement, an insolvency procedure agreed with creditors, that saved the retailer from administration. The CVA enabled Focus to save 5,000 jobs and shed 38 of its least profitable stores, leaving it with a healthier estate of 180 stores. Mr Grimsey actually pocketed more than the chief executive of Home Retail Group, which owns DIY rival Homebase and the catalogue giant Argos, for the year to February 2009. Terry Duddy made £858,000 over the year after also missing out on a bonus.

However, Mr Grimsey explained that his remuneration was due to back- payments relating to a change in his salary to match "market rates" that he agreed with the retailer's private equity owner, Cerberus, in August 2008. As a result, he received seven months of back payments, for the period between February and August 2008, as well as for two months of unpaid work before taking the helm in July 2007. He had agreed the "market rate" for a different set of objectives set by Cerberus.

Mr Grimsey, who invested a seven-figure sum in Focus's shares in 2007, said that if the CVA had not gone through he would have lost his investment. He said his salary for the current financial year had reverted back to £380,000 and that he, along with other staff, had not received a pay rise. For the year to 22 February, Focus made an improved pre-tax loss of £14.2m, on sales down marginally to £371.3m, according to accounts filed at Companies House yesterday.