Lovering defends rise in fees for M&B execs

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The Independent Online

The chairman of Mitchells & Butlers has defended the increased remuneration its non-executive directors are to receive, after he unveiled a 60-day review on Wednesday.

The final details of the new pay structure for the four non-executive directors at the pub restaurant group are still being finalised, but they will be paid more for the extra work to deliver its strategic review.

The increased fees are part of the wider changes made to boardroom remuneration at M&B, which owns the Toby Carvery chain, and are designed to incentivise directors to maximise profits. An M&B spokesman said the non-executives will take most of the extra pay in shares. John Lovering, who joined M&B as chairman in January, said: "This will be a very busy year for our non-executives and we intend to pay them for the work done and value created. We will review whether their fees should go down to a more normal level at the end of this year."

He added: "I am delighted that they are taking fees in shares to show real alignment to shareholders."

M&B became embroiled in a bitter power struggle between its biggest shareholders, including the Bahamas-based billionaire Joe Lewis, who has a 23 per cent stake, and the former chairman Simon Laffin at the end of last year. Mr Laffin lost his battle and was ousted from the board and fresh non-executives were installed.

In his strategic review on Wednesday, Mr Lovering said that M&B would focus on food and six core brands, moving away from pubs that rely on sales of alcohol. It plans to develop and open smaller formats of its Harvester and Toby Carvery outlets in locations such as retail parks.

Mr Lovering has been given an annual package of £350,000 at M&B. While this is £150,000 more than the former chairman Drummond Hall earned, Mr Lovering is taking all of his remuneration in shares.