ITV chief Allen faces investor anger over pay

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The Independent Online

Charles Allen, the chief executive of ITV, stands to make up to £24m over the next four years as a result of the company's executive incentive schemes.

Charles Allen, the chief executive of ITV, stands to make up to £24m over the next four years as a result of the company's executive incentive schemes.

The shareholder pressure group Pirc said the scale of the possible payouts were "excessive performance for the level of performance required". The news could add to discontent among the company's shareholders, who are still smarting from the disclosure of the £15m paid to Michael Green, dumped in October as chairman-designate.

ITV will hold its AGM later this month, at which shareholders will get to vote on at least one of the executive incentive schemes.

A spokesman for ITV said that, for the maximum payouts to be made to Mr Allen and other executives, "it would be a very good thing because that would mean that ITV's market capitalisation would have doubled or trebled". He said shareholders had been consulted on the issue and were happy with the rewards on offer. "We're not talking about a free handout here; it's not a lottery win," he added.

Mr Allen stands to gain from three main executive reward plans. There is the "commitment scheme", under which he can invest up to three times his £1m salary over the next four years. The company will then put in three times the amount invested by Mr Allen in the scheme in free shares, plus three times in share options at market value. According to Pirc this could be worth up to £12m to Mr Allen and this was the scheme that formed the biggest part of Mr Green's controversial pay-off.

There is a performance share plan, which allows Mr Allen to be awarded up to £1.5m a year in free shares, or £6m over four years. There is also the annual bonus scheme, which could also pay out £1.5m a year.

According to Pirc, no targets have been publicly disclosed for the annual bonus scheme, while median performance is good enough for 35 per cent of the performance plan to pay out. At the median level, 25 per cent of the commitment plan's awards will be triggered. David Somerlinck, of Pirc, said: "Obviously, it all depends on what happens to the shares but we think the problem with these schemes is not the size of the reward but the level of performance required for those awards."

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