Farewell jackpot for Camelot 'fat-cat'

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A lottery "fat-cat" who received a 90 per cent pay rise last year has resigned from his post at Camelot.

David Rigg, the communications director, who was heavily criticised last year after it was revealed that his salary package had almost doubled to pounds 333,333, said he felt the time was right to "seek new challenges" after seven years spent setting up and running the National Lottery.

Mr Rigg's pay rise was the largest of all the Camelot directors and he is due to pick up about pounds 80,000 in performance-related bonuses on 1 October - two days before he leaves Camelot - which is certain to re-fuel the row over whether the high salaries and bonuses are justified.

He was a founder board member of Camelot in 1993, and spent many of those early days wooing journalists and others involved in the lottery good causes, telling them of Camelot's efficiency and ability to deliver.

His public relations skills could not, however, overcome the public distaste when it was revealed that in total, the amount paid out to directors this year rose from pounds 1.67m to pounds 2.23m, while profits slipped from pounds 51.1m to pounds 46.8m.

News of the pay-outs sparked a public outcry with claims that more cash should be going to the good causes and Mr Rigg and two other directors threatened to resign rather than hand back their bonuses.

After a showdown with Chris Smith, the Secretary of State for Culture, he along with the chief executive, Tim Holley, and finance director, Peter Murphy, agreed to pay undisclosed sums from future bonus payments into a confidential charity fund.

Peter Davis, the director-general of Oflot, said he believed the furore had tarnished the National Lottery's reputation.

Announcing Mr Rigg's departure yesterday, Camelot's chief executive, Tim Holley, said: "David has been one of the architects of the success of the National Lottery and has been an outstanding communications director. We are sorry to lose him, but wish him well in his future endeavours."

Lottery insiders said there was no question that Mr Rigg had been frozen out of the board and insisted he had played an important part in the lottery's success. A spokesman for the Department of Culture, Media and Sport said it wished Mr Rigg well for the future.

He added: "As we said in the lottery White Paper, the lottery is the most efficient lottery in the world and it raises spectacular amounts of money for the good causes.

"There's no point trying to pretend Camelot hasn't done a good job, not withstanding the criticisms we have made of it."

Alistair Buchan, Camelot watcher and editor of the Lottery Monitor, said that Mr Rigg was one of the main forces behind setting up the Camelot consortium in its earliest days.

"He's saying his decision has nothing to do with the row, but I think it would be hard not to have been affected by the battering they got in some way," Mr Buchan said. "He felt he deserved what he got and he worked very, very hard for it. They will find it hard to replace him - they'll probably go for some ultra-respectable men in grey suits which wasn't David's style at all."

In a statement released by Camelot, Mr Rigg said: "Working as part of the Camelot team has been both a pleasure and a privilege. I have also, in the vast majority of instances, greatly enjoyed my literally thousands of dealings with the media over this time. However, I believe it is right for me to move on at this stage and seek new challenges for the future."

He is understood to be considering several offers of work, but is not believed to have any immediate plans for the future.