£600,000 payoff for ousted Atkins boss

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The Independent Online

Robin Southwell, the former chief executive of WS Atkins, was paid over £600,000 last year after being ousted from the top spot at the engineering consultancy following a profit warning.

Robin Southwell, the former chief executive of WS Atkins, was paid over £600,000 last year after being ousted from the top spot at the engineering consultancy following a profit warning.

Mr Southwell stood down after the alert in October that profits would more than halve, which sent shares down 72 per cent on the day. WS Atkins's annual report and accounts, published yesterday, revealed Mr Southwell had been awarded a total pay package of £606,000, compared to £376,000 the year before.

The payment breaks down into £175,000 of salary and fees, £31,000 of other benefits such as medical insurance and car, £399,810 as compensation for loss of office and a £76,000 pension contribution.

Under his contract, he was entitled to a payment equal to 12 months of salary, pension contributions and other benefits. He was also paid £18,750 to cover legal fees and outplacement support.

The document also shows that Ric Piper, the company's former finance director who had quit to join the publisher Trinity Mirror, was awarded a total of £163,000 for the year, down from £264,000.

Mr Piper hit the headlines last autumn after Trinity Mirror tore up his contract a day before he was due to start because of the WS Atkins profit warning.

The publisher has since paid Mr Piper more than £400,000 in compensation.

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