Cable & Wireless settles with Lerwill for £750,000

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The Independent Online

Cable & Wireless yesterday finalised its last major outstanding pay dispute as it agreed a settlement of nearly £750,000 with Robert Lerwill, its former deputy chief executive, just three months after agreeing a £1m deal with former chief executive Graham Wallace.

The package is, however, less than the minimum lump sum of just under £1m that Mr Lerwill, who was previously the company's finance director, was legally entitled to under the terms of his two-year contract.

Mr Lerwill, who most recently headed the company's operations in the Caribbean, formerly known as its regional arm, is getting a cash payment of £337,500, equivalent to nine months' salary, in lieu of notice.

Mr Lerwill, who was on a £450,000-a-year salary, also got a pension credit equivalent to 18 months' pensionable service worth £407,000. He will also be entitled to his share-based awards, subject to performance targets being met, which include an award of 31,513 shares and certain chunks of an award of nearly 340,000 shares. Mr Lerwill also owns 76,251 shares in the company and holds options over about another million shares although they are all significantly under water.

The settlement, which took about four months to thrash out, is the second major pay dispute the company has resolved after Mr Wallace's. Mr Lerwill seems to have fared far better than his former boss, who had also been on a two-year contract and who walked away with a settlement worth just over £1m - significantly less than the minimum lump sum of £1.55m that he had been entitled to.

The former chief executive got six months' notice - or £387,500 - although that is being paid in monthly instalments, in line with best practice. Cable & Wireless also agreed he would get 14 months of pension contributions - equivalent to £500,000 but said he would not be awarded any payments under any of its short-term or long-term incentive schemes.

Mr Lerwill, who stepped down from the board in June but who had stayed on to oversee the transition period, left the company yesterday.