Next boss's salary doubles to £1.7m

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The Independent Online

The pay of Simon Wolfson, the chief executive of Next, more than doubled to £1.74m last year after the fashion retailer enjoyed a jump in profits.

Mr Wolfson pocketed a salary of £682,000, benefits of £33,000 and a performance-related bonus of £1.02m after the company's pre-tax profits for the year to 20 January rose 18 per cent to £505m. Earnings per share rose by 21 per cent.

Next paid Mr Wolfson £340,000 of his bonus in shares, which are deferred for two years and will be forfeited if he resigns within that time. In addition, he received a £677,000 bonus paid in shares from a performance-related scheme deferred over three years.

Next upgraded its profit forecasts five times in 2009-10 after implementimg measures such as tighter stock control, and reporting trading conditions that were better than expected.

In addition to his bumper pay last year, Mr Wolfson could receive up to 250,000 free shares, worth about £3.4m, in four tranches before July next year as part of the retailer's long-term incentive plan.

Mr Wolfson, a Conservative Party donor, was one of the numerous chief executives – including Sir Stuart Rose at Marks & Spencer – who last month backed the Tories' commitment to reverse part of the Labour Party's planned national insurance increase of 1 per cent.

Next paid £40.9m in social security costs – of which the bulk was national insurance – in the year to January 2010. The figure for the previous year was £41.5m.