Rock's cool cats join fat cats in the boardroom

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Labour Editor

The rock stars Phil Collins, Elton John and Eric Clapton are among the top 20 boardroom "fat cats" all with earnings above pounds 13m a year, according to a survey published today.

The fattest cat of all however, according to the union-funded Labour Research Department, was Bernie Ecclestone, who organises and promotes Grand Prix races and who last year earned pounds 30,750,109 - an increase of 1,647 per cent on the previous year.

The LRD, an independent organisation and not part of the Labour Party, found that Mr Ecclestone, president of the Formula One Constructors' Association, received pounds 29,750,109 as the sole director of Formula One Promotions & Administration and a further pounds 1m from his company International Sports World Communicators.

In second place was Phil Collins, who received pounds 22,281,412, a rise of more than 110 per cent. Other musicians in the "top 20" - all of whom are directors of their own businesses - were Elton John on pounds 17,938,053 (110 per cent); Eric Clapton - pounds 13,390,000 (83.8 per cent); Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber - pounds 7,058,000 (499.2 per cent); Sting - pounds 5,677,989 ( a reduction of 51.8 per cent) and Mark Knopfler - pounds 2,858,710 (a 68.7 per cent decrease).

The highest-paid directors received increases averaging 11 per cent - nearly three times the inflation rate - but the workforce as a whole was receiving less than 4 per cent. Some 187 directors were paid pounds 500,000 a year or more, including 58 who received over pounds 1m.The biggest increase in a quoted company went to Henry Sweetbaum, chief executive of Wickes, the builders' merchants, whose rise of 208 per cent took his pay to pounds 1,023,000.

The latest issue of LRD's magazine Labour Research also points out that Sir Richard Greenbury, who led the CBI's investigation into boardroom pay at public companies, got a 17.1 per cent rise to take his pay to pounds 807,000 as chairman of Marks & Spencer. Among the highest-paid directors at both public and private companies were Crispin Odey of Odey Asset Management on pounds 19.2m (up 564.5 per cent); Peter Wood of the Royal Bank of Scotland on pounds 17.4m (6 per cent down); and Kaveh Alamouti on pounds 14.5m from Tokai Bank and its subsidiary Tokai Capital Markets (a 97 per cent annualised increase) respectively.