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Cheers Diageo! Walsh walks off with £46m retirement

  • @Thompj

The former chief executive of Diageo had amassed a shares and pension retirement fund of more than £46m when he stepped down this summer.

During his 13 years in charge Paul Walsh massively boosted the market value of the drinks giant, which owns Guinness and Johnnie Walker whisky. He held ordinary shares worth £16.1m when he retired on 30 June, based on yesterday’s share price of £20.87.

He retains options over 1.5 million shares, valued at £11.6m, which he can buy at a weighted average of £11.96 – against a share price of £19.68 over the three months to the end of June. The payout of these options is dependent on the group hitting its targets.

Mr Walsh – who joined Grand Metropolitan’s brewing unit in 1982, before it formed part of Diageo – also retired with a pension pot of £18.5m.

Despite these riches, his total pay package fell by 19 per cent to £2.5m last year, after a sharp reduction in his annual bonus.

Since the year end, Mr Walsh, who remains an adviser to the new chief executive and chairman, has sold shares worth about £3m.

Ivan Menezes, Diageo’s chief operating officer, replaced him as chief executive in July. The new boss will have a salary of £1m, compared with the £1.23m received by Mr Walsh last year.