ITV chief gets £8.7m bonanza

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The Independent Online
Charles Allen, the chief executive of ITV, enjoyed a bumper remuneration deal last year worth £8.7m in pay, free shares, options and pension benefits.</p>The bonanza materialised even though ITV had a disastrous year in its audience performance. Its main channel, ITV1, recorded a 6.0 per cent fall in its share of commercial television viewers.</p>The company did, however, do well in City terms, with its shares rising last year and its profits growing sharply. The integration of Granada and Carlton, to form ITV, went off smoothly in City terms and produced higher-than-expected cost savings benefits. Mr Allen, an accountant by training who worked his way up at Granada, collected a basic salary of £1m, according to ITV's annual report. He also received £37,000 in benefits and a cash and shares bonus for the year worth £845,000. Another £439,000 was paid into his pension pot.</p>Mr Allen was granted thousands of shares and options under four separate incentive schemes. Most of these are at nil cost to Mr Allen and are worth £6.4m at the current share price of 126.5p.</p>To pay out the maximum available, all the schemes require ITV to finish in the top quartile of a basket of FTSE 100 companies on the basis of "total shareholder return".</p>Mr Allen was awarded 1.01 million free shares under ITV's "deferred share award plans", which will vest from June this year. He received 1.38 million free shares from the ITV "performance share plan", which can be exercised from September 2007. He was also given 2.63 million free shares under a "commitment scheme", which start to be released in May 2007.</p>He also benefited from two awards of share options during the year that he will need to buy. Both are already in the money. He got 1.72 million shares under the old Granada share option scheme with an exercise price of 117.07p which can be triggered from December next year. He received 2.63 million shares under the commitment scheme at a price of 114.75p, which can be exercised from May 2007. This month ITV announced 2004 profits rose 57 per cent to £340m.</p>At the start of last year, Mr Allen's position appeared uncertain. Many in the City questioned whether he had the creative skills necessary to lead the broadcaster. His position now seems safe. </p>
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