View from City Road: Unfair on Laura Ashley shareholders

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The Independent Online
It is a pity that Laura Ashley's reluctance to spend money does not extend to the compensation paid to Jim Maxmin, its former chief executive. A pounds 1.2m pay-off looks a rich reward for falling out with his fellow directors, something that is surely one of the hazards of business life.

Mr Maxmin's two-year contract was below the three-year maximum recommended by Cadbury, so Laura Ashley can argue that the payment was squeaky clean as far as corporate governance guidelines are concerned. But that just underlines the pitfalls of devising such universal rules - particularly when salaries and pensions are already at such generous levels.

Mr Maxmin chose to go because the board would not sanction the level of investment he wanted. It was his decision to leave, or so he claimed; Laura Ashley's shareholders should not be made to pay for it.

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