Pounds 500,000 apiece for bosses who flopped

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NINETY executives sacked over the last 18 months have received golden handshakes averaging almost pounds 500,000, according to an analysis of severance pay, writes Patrick Hosking.

They shared pay-offs totalling pounds 43m, the Independent on Sunday survey shows. At least five received more than pounds 1m each.

The findings will fuel anger about large pay-offs to directors, who are sacked usually because they or their companies are deemed to have failed. By comparison, Robin Cook, Labour's trade and industry spokesman said, ordinary workers would be lucky to get redundancy payments of more than pounds 10,000.

'I think it's outrageous. These are the same top executives who are dismissing staff on minimal redundancy pay. If a company cannot afford to keep on skilled staff, it cannot afford to pay top whack to get rid of dud directors.'

Some large institutional shareholders are threatening to vote against the re-election of directors on long-term contracts which ensure handsome compensation if they are sacked.

The pay-offs include pounds 2.9m to Ernest Mario, dismissed as chief executive of the drugs group Glaxo; pounds 1.5m to Bob Horton, sacked by British Petroleum; and pounds 1.13m to Philip Green, ousted by Amber Day, which owns the What Everyone Wants shops.

Many sacked directors are also given top-ups to pension plans and other perks.

Business, page 4