Because of the timing change a potentially embarrassing pounds 1.9m of bonuses paid for the year to February 1992 to Sir Ian and six other executive directors is treated as a 'prior year' payment despite the fact that it has not been disclosed before.
In the following year they received another pounds 1.4m in bonuses, also disclosed for the first time in the annual report, published yesterday.
Under the new accounting treatment Sir Ian's total pay fell from a restated pounds 1,003,000 to pounds 967,000 last year.
His performance-related bonus has fallen from pounds 478,000 to pounds 397,000 to pounds 343,000 in the past three years. His basic pay has risen from pounds 390,000 to pounds 606,000 to pounds 624,000.
Bonuses are now booked in the last year of the three-year period over which Tesco's performance is measured. Previously they were booked in the year after the three-year period.
Tesco said the change was to ensure that bonuses 'relate more closely to the results on which they are based'.
Pay and bonuses are set by the remuneration committee, headed by Baroness O'Cathain. The bonus last year was based on performance in the previous three years, when earnings per share grew by 57 per cent.
The report also discloses that last October executives and employees were issued 20.1 million share options exercisable at 174p. These are already yielding a profit of 51p per share.
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