pounds 3m pay packet for Asda chief Archie Norman

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Archie Norman, chief executive of Asda, received a total pounds 3.69m in pay and options transactions last year, according to the latest report and accounts from the supermarkets group.

The accounts reveal that he cashed in 4.62 million share options at prices of between 97p and 110p, compared with an exercise price of 36p each. This was in addition to his remuneration package totalling pounds 621,000, including a pounds 155,000 performance-related bonus and a pounds 73,000 pension contribution. Last year he received a total of pounds 574,000.

The 1995/96 accounts, entitled 'The First Year of Breakout', also reveal that Mr Norman was granted more than 2.3 million long-term incentive share options at a nominal exercise price of just 0.1p each.

Two million of the options granted under the "long-term" incentive plan can be exercised already with the remainder in 1997 and 1998.

Asda said the executive options were granted to directors when the group was undergoing a radical restructuring in 1992. Options under the long- term incentive plan are exercisable four and five years after being granted.

Profits from the supermarkets group rose by 23.7 per cent to pounds 304.6m in the year to 27 April on a 12 per cent like-for-like increase in sales to more than pounds 6bn - outperforming its main competitors.

Other directors also exercised share options last year. The finance director, Phil Cox, and deputy chief executive Allan Leighton took home a total of pounds 1.64m and pounds 2.94m respectively in pay and option deals.

Asda's supermarket workers, who are also eligible for share options, received an average pay increase of 4 per cent last year.

Asda said that this was in "far in excess" of inflation and outstripped payments made by its main high street rivals.

Mr Norman, who joined Asda from Kingfisher in 1992, has been credited for helping turn around Asda from a struggling also-ran in the supermarket wars to a formidable competitor.