Chrysalis chief in new pay deal

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The Independent Online

Chrysalis, the media group, has laid out plans to make a special award worth about £1m to its chief executive, Richard Huntingford, after it decided that its current incentive scheme was too demanding.

Mr Huntingford saw his pay go down last year, to £508,000, from £812,000 in 2002, despite what was generally regarded as a good performance from the company. The group, which has music and books interests, said it needed to incentivise Mr Huntingford better or risk losing him.

The radio sector is forecast to be about to enter a phase of major consolidation, making companies in the sector keen to retain their top executives to see them through this period. Chrysalis owns Heart, the fast-growing radio brand.

Chrysalis said in its annual report, distributed this week: "Due to his [Mr Huntingford's] leadership the group delivered outstanding results in 2003 and it is imperative that the group retains his services."

The company said the changes, which will be put to shareholders at next month's annual meeting, were necessary "because the terms of the options and super performance bonus he [Mr Huntingford] received in 1999 meant that even if there were excellent returns to shareholders over the next two years, he would not sufficiently share in the growth in shareholder value."

A spokesman for Chrysalis said that the current incentive schemes were created in the context of the soaring share prices of media companies in 1999, meaning that the basis of the awards was set too high.

Last year, Mr Huntingford picked up a bonus of £163,000, less than the £327,000 maximum bonus that he could have been awarded.