Directors urged to show pay restraint

A DEMAND for directors' pay restraint will be made by Gordon Brown, the shadow Chancellor, in a May Day rally attack on boardroom irresponsibility in Burnley today, writes Anthony Bevins.

Mr Brown will urge ministers to give a new lead in condemning high- level salary increases that have been delivered at a time of recession, lost sales, profits, and jobs, and against a background of demands for wage restraint from employees.

He said last night that Britain could not afford boardroom irresponsibility at a time when greater competitiveness was required.

Citing some of the cases his office had found in company reports, Mr Brown complained of:

Guinness, 'where Sir Anthony Tennant received a 25 per cent pay rise to pounds 777,000 a year before his retirement in December, despite a 12 per cent drop in profits, a two-year consultancy at pounds 50,000 a year and an annual pension of pounds 500,000';

Hillsdown Holdings, 'where the highest paid director enjoyed a 219 per cent increase in 1991, after bonuses, to pounds 751,000';

Kingfisher, 'where the chairman, Sir Geoffrey Mulcahy, has a guaranteed pounds 600,000, a 40 per cent increase on 1991';

Burtons, 'where pounds 250,000 in bonuses are still being paid to retired chief executives Ralph Halpern - as part of a pounds 2m pay-out and pounds 456,000 pension - and Lawrence Cooklin';

British American Tobacco, where director Sir Patrick Sheehy had a 54 per cent rise, to pounds 981,000;