Pentland defends pounds 1m payoff to directors

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The Independent Online
TWO DIRECTORS of Pentland, the Speedo and Ellesse sportswear group, received combined payoffs of almost pounds 1m last year.

Frank Farrant, the finance director who quit in March, received pounds 332,000 for loss of office and was paid a further pounds 178,000 for three months of consultancy work. Patrick McGuigan, the chief operations director who resigned in May, received a bonus of pounds 257,000. The two directors also made substantial gains from the exercise of share options.

Pentland defended the payments, revealed in the company's latest annual report, saying they were part of the two directors' contractual entitlements. "They [the payments] were to the letter of the contracts and were made to people who had given good service to the company over a number of years."

Pentland received widespread criticism last year when the company appointed 33-year-old Andrew Rubin as chief executive. He is the son of Stephen Rubin, the chairman of Pentland and the majority shareholder.

The company insisted yesterday that it was acting in accordance with corporate governance guidelines. It said it had appointed a new non-executive director and that Clinton Silver, the former Marks & Spencer director, headed up the remuneration committee. "The company has taken a number of steps to comply with best practice," a spokesman said.

Stephen Rubin's total pay was unchanged last year at pounds 344,233. However, because of his 53 per cent stake in the company, his dividend cheque last year was for pounds 7.5m. Andrew Rubin was paid pounds 232,000, up from pounds 186,000 the previous year. His pay included a bonus of pounds 75,000 plus other taxable benefits of pounds 28,000. The increases took the total wage bill for directors to pounds 2.5m for the year, an increase of 25 per cent.