WH Smith chief given 57% rise in pay

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The Independent Online
rise to pounds 323,000 for the year to 30 May including a special pounds 25,000 bonus for his performance the previous year, when Smith's earnings fell, writes Patrick Hosking.

His boss Sir Simon Hornby, chairman of the retail group, was paid pounds 261,000, an increase of 44 per cent, according to the annual report published yesterday.

Total rewards in the boardroom rose 72 per cent to pounds 1.8m, while shopfloor pay over the same period was lifted by an average of 5 per cent.

Jeremy Hardie, deputy chairman and a member of Smith's remuneration committee, said the directors' pay increases were 'deserved'. They were mainly linked to corporate earnings, with a gearing element - a modest rise in earnings per share produced a large increase in the bonus.

Sir Malcolm's 'discretionary bonus' of pounds 25,000 was 'because we thought he had done extremely well', particularly in winding up Smith's satellite television investment and in handling the pounds 147m rights issue.

The report shows that Neil Thomas, an executive director who took early retirement in April, was paid pounds 280,000 in compensation for loss of office.

Smith has also snubbed Taurus, the Stock Exchange's planned paper-less share registration system, by declining to put the necessary resolution to shareholders at its annual meeting in October. In the report the board says it will wait until Taurus is operational and it believes the new system is in the interests of shareholders before asking them to consider joining.