Share sale nets recruitment boss pounds 600,000

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Terry Benson, chief executive of Michael Page, the international recruitment consultants, garnered more than pounds 600,000 from the sale of shares in the group yesterday.

He exercised options over 464,110 ordinary shares at 52p and 112,000 ordinary shares at 47p. He then sold the shares at 160p, for a profit of pounds 627,799. Mr Benson has a further 800,000 options exercisable before December 1998, and another 400,000 options , exercisable between November 1996 and 2000, as part of the employee share trust.

Since he became chief executive in March 1994, the group has grown strongly, staying within the financial sector.

Mr Benson says that this strategy, coupled with a programme of rolling out to virgin territories, contributed to a record half-year profit of pounds 7.6m for the first six months of this year.

Improvements in the eco- nomy lifted the market for temporary and permanent financial placements, but the Hong Kong office, which opened in October 1994, reaped dividends from the influx of multinationals, such as PepsiCo and tobacco group RJ Reynolds, moving in to capitalise on new business opportunities in China.

The group has also experienced profitable trading in Australia and the UK, where a 20 per cent increase in business was achieved despite some volatility in the front-of-office sector.

In Europe, Michael Page France continues to lead the executive selection market while the business in the Netherlands has doubled its revenue.

Mr Benson said he harboured no plans to expand into the American market, preferring instead to focus on the growth in the pan-Pacific region. Plans to launch more of the company's new Accountancy Additions subsidiaries after a successful first six months of trading this year were also on the cards.