Taylor wins a pounds 1.6m pay-off from Barclays

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MARTIN TAYLOR, who shocked the City when he walked out on his pounds 1m-a-year job as chief executive of Barclays Bank last November, has negotiated a pounds 1.6m pay-off with his former employer.

Mr Taylor, who until his departure was regarded as one of the most promising business leaders of his generation, is also expected to be allowed to cash in share options worth, on the basis of yesterday's share price, at least pounds 3m.

The pay-off, revealed in Barclays's annual report, is substantially higher than had been expected. Mr Taylor was on a one-year contract. The settlement is based on the package, including performance-related bonuses and share options, that Mr Taylor could have expected to have received had he stayed on for another year.

The report, which was posted to shareholders yesterday, also reveals that Mr Taylor, 46, received a total pay and bonus package of pounds 957,000 last year - a rise of 30 per cent on the pounds 738,000 he received in 1997. In addition he made profits of more than pounds 300,000 on his existing share options.

This was in spite of a series of setbacks culminating in the pounds 350m charge against last year's accounts to cover Russian bond losses, and the bank's participation in the $3.75bn (pounds 2.3bn) bail-out of the troubled US hedge fund, Long-Term Capital, which undermined boardroom confidence in the chief executive and sowed the seeds for his dramatic departure.

The salary of Andrew Buxton, who retires as chairman at next month's annual meeting, fell from pounds 579,000 to pounds 523,000.

Mr Taylor's replacement, Mike O'Neill, a former chief financial officer of the American banking giant BankAmerica, is due to take up his new post on Friday.

Mr O'Neill, whose arrival is said to herald a dramatic shake-up, will receive a total compensation package worth pounds 15m over three years, making him by far the highest paid banker in the UK, although it is a relatively modest salary by American standards.

Since Mr Taylor quit, Barclays shares have risen by more than 27 per cent. He has re-emerged to head a new pro-European but anti-euro think tank with Lord Owen.

Derek Wanless, the chief executive of National Westminster Bank whose pay was also disclosed to shareholders yesterday, saw his salary nearly double to pounds 832,000 last year from pounds 450,000 in 1997. That still left him trailing Mr Taylor, despite the strong turnaround in NatWest's results last year.

The huge jump in Mr Wanless's salary was mainly because in that year - the annus horribilis in which NatWest Markets, the bank's equity capital markets business, fell into the red - Mr Wanless waived his performance- related bonus, worth pounds 350,000 last year. Martin Owen, who headed NatWest Markets, later resigned and the business was sold.

Lord Alexander, who steps down this year as chairman in favour of Sir David Rowland, the former chairman of Lloyd's of London, saw his salary rise from pounds 434,000 to pounds 720,000 last year. Lord Alexander also waived his bonus in 1997. Paul Myners, the head of Gartmore, the fund management group bought by NatWest, quadrupled his salary to pounds 457,000 . He too refused a 1997 bonus due to of Gartmore's poor investment performance that year.

As of 31 December 1998, Mr Wanless is sitting on share options worth pounds 1.82m at yesterday's share price of pounds 14.

Lord Alexander last year made a profit of pounds 90,000 from exercising options. He is still sitting on options worth pounds 1.4m.