Gent drives off from Vodafone with a Bentley

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Sir Christopher Gent, the former chief executive of Vodafone, retired in December on an annual pension of £702,000, with a £100,000 Bentley motor car thrown in by his erstwhile employers.

Sir Christopher Gent, the former chief executive of Vodafone, retired in December on an annual pension of £702,000, with a £100,000 Bentley motor car thrown in by his erstwhile employers.

Details of Sir Christopher's final remuneration arrangements at the world's biggest mobile phone company were contained in the company's annual report, published yesterday.

It also contains details of his successor's remuneration. Arun Sarin earned £3.2m in the year to 31 March, having started with the company on 1 April 2003. Mr Sarin was also awarded shares under the company's long-term incentive plan during the year worth £2.3m. He holds 4.8m shares in Vodafone.

The annual report shows that Mr Sarin received benefits worth £879,000 to cover the costs of his relocation from the west coast of America to Newbury, in Berkshire, to take up his role at Vodafone. This included advice on finding a house and a search carried out by the company for schools for his children. The company also paid for his solicitor's fees, estate agent's fees, stamp duty on his house purchase and the removal costs associated with moving from California to the UK. Other costs coveredincluded storage fees for his belongings and rent for temporary accommodation.

Mr Sarin's basic pay was £1.1m. He also earned bonuses worth £1.2m as well as the £879,000 in benefits. Mr Sarin's remuneration in his first year meant he earned more than Sir Christopher in his last full year as chief executive in 2003 when he took home £2.9m.

Sir Christopher's share of the Vodafone pension scheme needed to pay his annual pension entitlement is valued at £15.5m. Healso sold shares during the year, the annual report revealed. Under the company's short-term incentive plan Sir Christopher disposed of 799,152 shares although he retains 550,662 in the company's long-term incentive plan worth £709,000 at the end of the financial year.

Julian Horn-Smith, the company's chief operating officer, earned £1.9m but has the biggest shareholding in the company's long-term investment plan which is valued in the annual report at £3.6m.

In a separate development, Vodafone now has until mid-August to sell a $10bn (£5.4bn) stake in its US joint venture, Verizon Wireless. Its partner in the US, Verizon Communications, is understood to have the financial firepower to buyout Vodafone's 45 per cent stake in the mobile phone operation and has said it would like to become the sole shareholder in the business.

However, Mr Sarin made it clear at Vodafone's recent annual results presentation that the company wanted to remain a "long-term" partner in Verizon Wireless with a partial sale of its stake in the next 60 days seen as highly unlikely.

Comments