Take the money and run

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The Independent Online
AMIDST all the hullabaloo about boardroom greed last week, it was a pity that the shadow chancellor, Gordon Brown, alighted on the least offensive component of directors' remuneration: share options. When directors become super-rich because of share options, at least the shareholders benefit too. In moderation they are eminently sensible.

It is directors who reward themselves while their shareholders suffer who are surely less acceptable. The three-year rolling contract - the Holy Grail for executives who fear they may be sacked - is still common. Huge pay- offs are then virtually guaranteed, as we report in the main section.

You can't get more eloquent on the iniquity of three-year rollers than the annual report of Tiphook, published on Friday. In the year when the container leasing firm slumped to a disastrous pounds 330m loss, wiping out almost all value for its shareholders, Eric Goodwin, the deputy chairman, walked away with pounds 1.9m in pay, pension entitlement and compensation for loss of office; Robert Montague, former chairman and still chief executive, received pounds 1.47m; Christopher Palmer, managing director, left with a pounds 1.38m package; Rodger Braidwood, finance director, left with pounds 1m; and the company secretary, Nicholas Smith, received pounds 592,000. QED.