Ex-HBOS chief makes swift £2m at Boots

The former boss of rescued bank HBOS earned more than £2 million in pay and benefits for just nine months in his new job heading high street giant Alliance Boots, it emerged today.

Andy Hornby, who headed HBOS in the run-up to its near-collapse before its rescue by Lloyds TSB, was paid £1.68 million in salary, bonuses and benefits after joining as chief executive on July 1 - making him Boots' highest paid director.

He also landed a £400,000 "golden hello" as part of "joining arrangements" for taking on the top job, which earns him £850,000 a year in salary excluding bonuses, according to the group's annual report.

His pay to March 31 included a nine-month wage of £600,000, an £805,000 short-term bonus, £240,000 in pension entitlements and £34,000 in benefits.

Mr Hornby's pay dwarfed that of executive chairman Stefano Pessina, who led a mammoth £11.1 billion takeover of Boots three years ago backed by private equity group KKR.

Mr Pessina earned a £666,000 pay package, down from £701,000 the year before.

The part Mr Hornby played in leading HBOS to the brink saw his reputation called into question following the financial crisis, with the bank boss forced to defend himself in front of MPs alongside disgraced ex-Royal Bank of Scotland boss Sir Fred Goodwin.

But his job at Boots has seen a remarkable turnaround in fortunes, putting him in charge of a group with growing profits and expansion plans.

Boots last week reported profits above £1 billion for the first time.

The pharmacist and wholesaler posted trading profits of £1.07 billion in the year to March 31 - up 12.7% on a year earlier - helped by launches such as No 7 Protect & Perfect skincare.

Its UK revenues rose to £6.6 billion, with like-for-like sales growth of 2.4%.

Boots said in its annual report that pay levels for Mr Hornby and other directors were set with help from consultants and benchmarked against companies in the FTSE 100.

Its report added that total pay for directors was "below median" against its peer group.

Last year's annual bonus scheme allowed windfalls of up to 140% of salary, based on trading profit and personal performance.

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