Burberry chief checks in as Europes best-paid woman with £19m package

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The Independent Online

Rosemary Bravo: Was awarded shares worth £12.6m when Burberry floated last July Reuters

Rose Marie Bravo, the chief executive of Burberry and the mastermind of its dramatic recovery, pocketed £19m in pay and shares last year, making her one of the best paid executives in Europe.

Ms Bravo's staggering package is far higher than almost all other UK bosses and compares with what executives are paid in her native America.

The reward, detailed in the company's annual report, was made up of £12.6m in shares awarded when Burberry floated last July. It also included £4.1m as part of a long-term incentive plan from GUS, which decided to spin off the British fashion group, and £2.1m in pay and bonuses.

Ms Bravo, who was poached by GUS from her job heading Saks Fifth Avenue in New York, was given use of a company flat and received pension contributions of £300,000.

A spokesperson for Burberry said: "This is not a payment for failure, it is a reward for success."

Ms Bravo and her top team - who also received hefty pay packages - are widely recognised as having rejuvenated Burberry's famous check from being a stuffy brand bought by ladies who lunch to being a must-have addition to the wardrobe of fashionistas.

Marks & Spencer, another retailer that has recovered dramatically in recent years, also handed out lavish rewards to its team, including £1.2m to Vittorio Radice, who was poached from Selfridges to lead the M&S push into the lifestyle market.

The sum represented pay of £300,000 a week, as Mr Radice only joined the company on 3 March and M&S's year end is the end of that month.

The high street retailer emphasised most of the package was compensation paid to Mr Radice for leaving various share schemes and a pension plan at Selfridges. Roger Holmes, its chief executive, was paid a total of £1.1m, a rise of 25 per cent from the previous year. His pay included a £491,000 bonus.

Separately, Sir Peter Davis, the chief executive of J Sainsbury, stands to receive shares worth £4m, according to the supermarket group's annual report published yesterday. Sir Peter, who will become chairman in March next year, is due to receive 1.5 million shares over the next three years, if certain performance targets are met. These would be worth just over £4m at yesterday's closing price of 261.75p.

The shares grants depend on Sir Peter using "his best endeavours" to secure a new chief executive for the company by 31 March 2004 and a new deputy chairman being appointed.

The accounts also show that Sir Peter, who recently agreed a new contract to stay in his post until July 2005, was paid a total of £1.2m last year, including a basic salary of £800,00 and a bonus of £408,000.

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