Thames chairman given 64% pay rise

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Sir Robert Clarke, the chairman of Thames Water, received a 64 per cent pay rise last year, giving him a hike in his remuneration package of almost pounds 100,000.

The group's annual report and accounts also showed that Bill Alexander, Thames' managing director, was awarded a 40 per cent pay rise. The information landed on shareholders' doorsteps the day after the Chancellor's windfall levy left the company with a pounds 231m additional tax bill.

The report revealed that the basic salary of Sir Robert, 68, increased by pounds 90,000 to pounds 233,600 in the year to the end of March 1997. With other benefits included, his total pay rose by pounds 96,000 to pounds 247,000, though he has not taken part in the annual bonus scheme.

Mr Alexander saw his pay package increase from pounds 161,000 to pounds 226,000, including a pounds 33,000 bonus. His pension fund was also given a pounds 110,000 boost, reflecting the increase in his basic pay, a move which Thames said was made through a charge on its profit and loss account.

Thames said the increases followed the departure of Michael Hoffman as chief executive in March 1996 and the decision to make Sir Robert a full- time executive chairman. Trevor Newton, the former managing director, also retired soon afterwards. Mr Alexander, who was already running the core utility operation, took on part of Mr Newton's role.

David Luffrum, finance director, said: "We've now got two people doing what was previously done by three. The chairman and managing director were effectively promoted." Mr Luffrum's pay rose by 3.4 per cent, an increase which the group said reflected "performance and previous market information on pay levels".