Ex InterContinental chief could net £3.8m

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The Independent Online

Richard North, the former chief executive of InterContinental Group (IHG), earned £1.2m for 2004 despite being ousted because he "didn't have the right skills for the job". He could still earn a further £3.8m from a long-term share scheme.

Although Mr North left the group in December, he was awarded shares worth up to £3.8m as part of a rolling three-year incentive scheme covering the period 2004 to 2006. He will be allowed access to the shares if shareholder returns from IHG reach certain performance targets over the period.

Mr North, 54, was paid £630,000 in basic salary, and a cash bonus of £553,000 for 2004, according to the company's annual report published yesterday. He also has rights to share options worth up to £6.5m, which he can vest over the next three years. He also saw his pension entitlements rise by £60,000 last year, giving him a pension pot when he left of £3.5m. This would afford him an annual pension of £240,000 a year in retirement.

Mr North was told in September 2004 that the board no longer wanted him in charge. At the time of the surprise ousting David Webster, chairman of IHG, said Mr North did not have enough experience of developing global brands to lead the group going forward. He said it needed a chief executive with a "different skills base".

Mr North had become chief executive of IHG in October 2002 after the hotels group was spun out of the Six Continents drinks and leisure conglomerate. He steered the business through the demerger, fending off a hostile takeover from the serial entrepreneur, Hugh Osmond.

While he was chief executive, shares in IHG nearly doubled and he announced plans to return £1.3bn to shareholders by selling hotel assets. Since then, the group has announced the return of an additional £1bn.

He was replaced by Andrew Cosslett of Cadbury Schweppes.