Pack up your loot in your old kit bag

`For the top managers, the size and quality of the new house is in a different league'

MOVING house is, officially, beaten only by divorce and bereavement as life's most stressful experience. But for top executives, the experience can be one of life's most rewarding.

Consider, for example, Jan Leschly, chief executive of the drugs group SmithKline Beecham. When he moved his home from the UK to the US, the company awarded him a record-breaking pounds 833,000 in relocation expenses.

This sum - more than his annual salary - was intended to compensate him purely for the costs of moving. He had sold his house in Marlow, Bucks, quite easily, spending the remaining months before leaving for the US in a pounds 193-a-night Park Lane apartment. And he already owned a house in New Jersey. According to SmithKline spokesman Alan Chandler: "The money was to cover moving expenses and the loss of value on his UK house. It's quite a reasonable sum for an executive on his level."

That view is not shared by everyone. One major SmithKline shareholder said the pounds 833,000 relocation payment "merits a thorough explanation".

Mr Leschly is not the first director to have done well from moving house. Take Harvey Golub, chief executive of American Express. When he was promoted to chief executive in 1992, he had to abandon the house he was building in Minneapolis and move to New York. While the transfer itself cost pounds 5,100, the firm also assumed a pounds 3.4 m loss on the incomplete house - all classed as "relocation expenses".

From joining a new drinking club to paying the kids' school fees, directors' claims can be endless. While the average relocated executive chalks up pounds 25,000 in expenses, claims shoot up at senior level, as Andersen Consulting's Colin Langley explains:

"For top management, the size and the quality of the new house is entirely different. Key executives need to entertain their clients, and this requires a sizeable property. Also, you need to look at currency compensation, to ensure that the spending power remains the same over there as it was over here. And if the whole family is moving then fees for international schools must be looked at, and usually the company pays for two trips home a year. It can all add up to six figures quite easily."

But even moving from one area of England to another can bring a financial windfall. When Charles Romaine was promoted to chief executive of HTV in 1991, a switch from Berkshire to Bristol netted him pounds 118,000 in relocation expenses alone. In an unusual step, HTV decided that the fall in value of Mr Romaine's pounds 250,000 home should be redressed by the company. When he still couldn't sell the house, HTV threw in another pounds 64,000.

HTV was as generous to Mr Romaine's successor, Chris Rowlands. He picked up relocation expenses of pounds 78,815 when he moved house from the Midlands to Cardiff. The sum was to help bridge the gap between the pounds 240,000 he paid for his house and the pounds 171,000 he sold it for.

Mr Rowlands' home was bought by one of the many relocation companies which have sprung up to exploit the growing corporate need to uproot key executives. Agents like Lloyds' Black Horse and ARC Relocations offer a "guaranteed sale" service, where they borrow money to buy the house and the employer pays both the interest on the loan and any losses incurred in selling the house. But, as ARC's Nigel Passingham says, when it comes to average executives, companies are far less inclined to cover negative equity.

"Companies are proving more reluctant than ever to spend money on middle- ranking executives," he says. "Any extra money for loss of property value is very, very unusual."

The idiosyncrasies of relocation expenses reach beyond the private sector. Last month, Hartlepool General Hospital paid pounds 2,300 in "relocation expenses" to transport a Rottweil-er and an eight-year-old truck across the Atlantic from Missouri because their owner, Dr Craig Baldwin, refused to move without them. As a consultant anaesthetist, he was earning pounds 200,000 in the US and took a 70 per cent drop in salary to take the job. When he said that dog and truck were prerequisites to his taking the job, they didn't argue.

"We were in dire need of an anaesthetist," said the hospital's Anne Botterill, who hired a headhunting agency to track down Dr Baldwin. "And as far as the relocation money goes, if it persuaded him to come over, we see it as money well spent."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor and Clara have their first real heart to heart since he regenerated in 'Deep Breath'
TV
Arts and Entertainment
Jamie Oliver
filmTV chef Jamie Oliver turned down role in The Hobbit
News
The official police photograph of Dustin Diamond taken after he was arrested in Wisconsin
peopleDownfall of the TV star charged with bar stabbing
Life and Style
Sony Computer Entertainment President and Group CEO Andrew House, executive in charge of Sony Network Entertainment, introduces PlayStation Now
tech
PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Jeremy Clarkson, left, and Richard Hammond upset the locals in South America
tvReview: Top Gear team flee Patagonia as Christmas special reaches its climax in the style of Butch and Sundance
News
people
Sport
Ashley Barnes of Burnley scores their second goal
footballMan City vs Burnley match report
Arts and Entertainment
Peter Mayhew as Chewbacca alongside Harrison Ford's Han Solo in 'Star Wars'
film
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Man of action: Christian Bale stars in Exodus: Gods and Kings
film
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Arts and Entertainment
Tracy Emin's 1998 piece 'My Bed' on display at Christie's
artOne expert claims she did not
Life and Style
Apple showed no sign of losing its talent for product launches with the new, slightly larger iPhone 6 making headlines
techSecurity breaches and overhyped start-ups dominated a year in which very little changed (save the size of your phone)
Arts and Entertainment
Catherine (Sarah Lancashire) in Happy Valley ((C) Red Productions/Ben Blackall)
TV
Arts and Entertainment
Clueless? Locked-door mysteries are the ultimate manifestation of the cerebral detective story
booksAs a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor explains the rules of engagement
Sport
Robin van Persie is blocked by Hugo Lloris
footballTottenham vs Manchester United match report
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Selby Jennings: VP/SVP Credit Quant- NY- Investment Bank

Not specified: Selby Jennings: VP/SVP Credit Quant Top tier investment bank i...

Selby Jennings: Quantitative Research | Equity | New York

Not specified: Selby Jennings: Quantitative Research | Global Equity | New Yor...

Selby Jennings: SVP Model Validation

Not specified: Selby Jennings: SVP Model Validation This top tiered investment...

Selby Jennings: Oil Operations

Highly Competitive: Selby Jennings: Our client, a leading European Oil trading...

Day In a Page

A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

Who remembers that this week we enter the 150th anniversary year of the end of the American Civil War, asks Robert Fisk
Homeless Veterans appeal: Former soldiers pay their respects to a friend who also served

Homeless Veterans appeal

Former soldiers pay their respects to a friend who also served
Downfall of Dustin 'Screech' Diamond, the 'Saved By The Bell' star charged with bar stabbing

Scarred by the bell

The downfall of the TV star charged with bar stabbing
Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

Security breaches and overhyped start-ups dominated a year in which very little changed (save the size of your phone)
Cuba's golf revolution: But will the revolutionary nation take 'bourgeois' game to its heart?

Will revolutionary Cuba take 'bourgeois' golf to its heart?

Fidel Castro ridiculed the game – but now investment in leisure resort projects is welcome
The Locked Room Mysteries: As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor Otto Penzler explains the rules of engagement

The Locked Room Mysteries

As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor explains the rules of engagement
Amy Adams on playing painter Margaret Keane in Tim Burton's Big Eyes

How I made myself Keane

Amy Adams hadn’t wanted to take the role of artist Margaret Keane, because she’d had enough of playing victims. But then she had a daughter, and saw the painter in a new light
Ed Richards: Parting view of Ofcom chief. . . we hate jokes on the disabled

Parting view of Ofcom chief... we hate jokes on the disabled

Bad language once got TV viewers irate, inciting calls to broadcasting switchboards. But now there is a worse offender, says retiring head of the media watchdog, Ed Richards
A look back at fashion in 2014: Wear in review

Wear in review

A look back at fashion in 2014
Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015. Might just one of them happen?

Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015

Might just one of them happen?
War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

The West needs more than a White Knight

Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

The stories that defined 2014

From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?