Olver to earn £500,000 for two days a week at BAE

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The Independent Online

The new chairman of BAE Systems, Dick Olver, is to be paid £5,000 a day for his part-time, non-executive job at Britain's biggest defence contractor.

The new chairman of BAE Systems, Dick Olver, is to be paid £5,000 a day for his part-time, non-executive job at Britain's biggest defence contractor.

Mr Olver, a lifelong oilman and currently the deputy chief executive of BP, will receive £500,000 a year and work a two-day week in his new role at BAE, where he succeeds Sir Dick Evans as chairman in July. Mr Olver's job at BP will not be filled. Instead his responsibilities will be shared among other BP board executives.

BAE justified the amount being paid to its new chairman on the grounds that it was the going market rate. It was also pointed out that Mr Olver will be taking a 66 per cent cut when he leaves BP, where he received £1.5m in salary, bonuses and performance shares last year.

"You have to pay what you have to pay. This is what it costs to get quality people now," a BAE spokesman said. "The responsibilities of non-executives are also formidable compared with the past so you have to make it worthwhile."

Mr Olver's salary will be fixed for three years and he will receive no bonuses or share awards. Even so, the pay package makes him one of a new breed of "super chairmen" who are receiving two or three times the amount traditionally paid to non-executive chairmen.

Niall Fitzgerald, the executive chairman of Unilever, will also be paid £500,000 a year when he becomes non-executive chairman of Reuters, the news and financial information group, later this year.

Mr Olver said he had only been approached "very recently" about the job, but added that he had identified BAE as an interesting company to join some time ago. He listed his experience of project management and dealing with politicians as qualifications for the job but said he intended to spend time "listening and learning" before jumping to conclusions about BAE.

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