BSkyB's Ball may collect £23m after first year

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The Independent Online

Tony Ball, chief executive of BSkyB, could collect a pay package worth up to £23m for his first year of running the company. Mr Ball received salary, bonus and pension payments totalling £1.54m for the year to June and £2.66m worth of share options exercisable between 2002 and 2009.

Tony Ball, chief executive of BSkyB, could collect a pay package worth up to £23m for his first year of running the company. Mr Ball received salary, bonus and pension payments totalling £1.54m for the year to June and £2.66m worth of share options exercisable between 2002 and 2009.

However, under BSkyB's long-term incentive plan, Mr Ball could also receive a total of £19m, the company's annual report and accounts show. The £19m is divided into two payments in November this year and next, subject to his meeting certain performance targets and the agreement of the remuneration committee. Should BSkyB's share price rise sharply, the value of the long-term incentive could be worth millions more.

A BSkyB spokesman said Mr Ball's compensation package was based on the same criteria as that of predecessor, Mark Booth, with the higher remuneration arising due to gains in BSkyB's share price.

BSkyB stock soared from less than 600p when Mr Booth took the helm in May 1999 to hit an all-time high on the back of the bull market in tech stocks of 2,158p. Meanwhile, Elisabeth Murdoch, daughter of Rupert Murdoch, who resigned from the post of managing director of Sky Networks in June, is to retain her rights to 350,000 shares awarded under the long-term incentive plan in fiscal year 1999. The shares are currently worth £3.6m.

Ms Murdoch also retains the right to 141,000 executive share options with a strike price of 567.5p, currently showing a profit of £652,000. The expiry date for exercising the options is 30 June 2001.

BSkyB stock closed down 11p yesterday at 1,030p.

In the annual statement, Tony Ball, who was appointed in June 1999, said that the last year had been the best for new business since 1992-1993. "Direct to home revenue increased by 21% to £1,189m reflecting a 13 per cent increase in the average number of subscribers and a 7 per cent increase in the average revenue per subscriber," he said.

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