Next executive pay soars by 70% despite slump in shares

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Next, the high street retailer, last year rewarded its directors with bonuses worth half their salaries, despite the poor performance of the group's shares.

Next, the high street retailer, last year rewarded its directors with bonuses worth half their salaries, despite the poor performance of the group's shares.

The executive directors each received the maximum payout allowed under its bonus scheme for the year to 31 January 2000, figures in the company's annual report showed. In the previous year, they got no bonus payments.

The four executive directors were awarded total bonuses of £613,000, the maximum payout permitted - of half salary - in each case. That took total executive director remuneration to £1.9m, up 73 per cent from £1.1m the previous year.

David Jones, the chief executive, was awarded a bonus of £275,000 for last year, on top of his salary of £550,000. That took his total pay package to £855,000, up from £501,000 the previous year.

David Keens, the finance director, took home a total of £386,000, compared with £244,000 the year before. Andrew Varley, meanwhile, saw his take-home pay rise to £315,000 from £188,000, while the other executive director, Simon Wolfson, saw his package increase to £350,000 from £191,000 the year before.

Next's shares have fallen from highs of 838p a year ago to as low as 430p. They closed yesterday at 502.5p, up 11.5p on the day. Next's bonus scheme, however, is based on earnings per share, which increased by 13 per cent to 38.4p over the period. A spokesman for Next said: "Profits are the thing the directors can control. If the stock market does not recognise earnings growth, there's not much they can do about it."

Matthew Taylor, the company's house broker at Warburg Dillon Read, said: "If you compare the levels of pay at Next to companies of a similar size, the level of remuneration is very modest. The share price performance needs to be put in the context of a sector in which virtually every stock is massively lower than it was a year ago."

An independent analyst said: "The Next management have done a reasonable job, but they need to be more imaginative, do something more dramatic. The growth prospects are not exciting."

Comments