Footsie bosses get pay rise in worst year ever

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The Independent Online

The average boss of a FTSE 100 company received a 1 per cent pay rise last year, despite the index itself falling by more than at any time in its 25-year history.

Research by the pay and benefits consultant MM&K reveals that the typical Footsie chief executive was paid £2.57m in 2008, with higher basic salaries and share awards offsetting a reduction in bonuses.

Bart Becht, the chief executive of Reckitt Benckiser, topped MM&K's survey, with a total compensation package worth £38.1m in 2008. Mr Becht's company's share price fell by 12 per cent over the year.

However, the credit crisis does seem to have had some effect on pay, with the survey reporting that just one financial services company boss, Michael Dobson of Schroders, was among the top 10 earners in the Footsie last year.

Nevertheless, the survey prompted criticism from corporate governance groups, which have become increasingly vocal about the need for closer alignment between company performance and boardroom pay.

"Even after the financial crisis, we don't have a good link between performance and reward," said Tom Powdrill of Pension Investment Research Consultants. "There's never really a downwards trend in remuneration - investors have to be much more assertive than they have been so far."

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