Power bosses share in pounds 2m

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The Independent Online
BOSSES of the privatised electricity company National Power have cashed share options worth almost pounds 2m, it was claimed last night.

The disclosure comes on the eve of the anxiously awaited report into executive pay, chaired by Sir Richard Greenbury, chairman of Marks & Spencer. The Shadow Chancellor, Gordon Brown, said that the six directors had gone on a "pre-Greenbury gold rush". But Labour added that Sir Richard's proposals would not prevent a repetition.

The latest controversy surrounds the six National Power directors, including chairman John Baker, who exercised share options between them worth pounds 1.98m in May and June.

Mr Baker made pounds 366,000 to add to the pounds 713,000 worth of shares he exercised last November, taking his share earnings above pounds 1m, according to Labour.

The biggest amount was made by Granville Camsey, managing director of National Power's group technology, who recently exercised pounds 567,000 worth of shares.

Other directors who cashed in included Rod Jackson, managing director of group corporate services (pounds 392,000); Brian Birkenhead, group finance director (pounds 199,000); and Colin Webster, managing director of UK businesses (pounds 308,000).

A National Power spokesman said a number of directors exercised share options in May and June, but said they had been reported at the time.

Sir Richard's report, which was commissioned by the Confederation of British Industry in January, will be published tomorrow. John Major has promised to consider its recommendations, including any proposed legislative changes.

The 52-page report is expected to outline 10 main action points which will involve Government legislation, Stock Exchange reforms and improvements in company self-regulation.

The proposals include a recommendation that the Government brings forward "the necessary amendments to the tax legislation" to ensure that executive share options are taxed as income rather than capital gains. That will be backed by the Opposition.

Sir Richard will also call for annual bonuses for directors to be linked to performance and for share options and other incentive schemes to be approved by shareholders.