M&S boss sees 28% jump in pay package

Marks & Spencer boss Sir Stuart Rose saw his total pay package jump 28 per cent last year despite a 40 per cent fall in profits at the retail giant, it was disclosed today.

The executive chairman earned £1.77 million in the year to March, up from £1.38 million a year earlier, the firm's annual report said.

Although Sir Stuart's basic salary was frozen at £1.13 million and he received no bonus for the second year in a row, his total package was boosted by a cash payment of £288,000 in dividend equivalents under the group's share incentive scheme.

This came from shares he was awarded in 2005 and vested last summer, reflecting a three-year period when trading at M&S was much healthier before the recession struck.

M&S posted £1 billion in profits for the first time in a decade in the 12 months to March 2008, but a year later this slumped to £604 million as the retail giant bore the brunt of the high street squeeze.

The rise in Sir Stuart's overall payout could spark anger from shareholders at the group's annual meeting next month.

Alongside the profits fall, M&S also cut dividend payouts for the first time since 2000 at last month's results. Since then, shares in the company have fallen by almost 20 per cent.

Sir Stuart was also awarded 1.18 million shares last year, which will vest in 2011 and give him a potential bonus of four times his salary if the group achieves the maximum performance targets.

An M&S spokeswoman said: "The targets are stretching and senior remuneration is always aligned to the interests of shareholders."

Total pay to all executive and non-executive directors - as well as those who retired from the board last year - reached £6.5 million. This compares with £4.2 million in the previous year.