Mark Steel: Executive pay - so how do you get by on £3.7m?

What could these bosses be short of last year that meant they needed a rise

Share

They've done it again! According to the Financial Times, the average "remuneration" for directors of top companies has gone up 10 per cent to £3.7m, though to say it like that is grammatically incorrect. When it's reported on the news, Robert Peston should have to use the formal English, and say "THREE POINT SEVEN MILLION SHITBAG BASTARD POXY POUNDS EACH. That's EACH. AAAAARGH. Now, here's Tom with the weather."

And this comes after all the furore about executive pay, and warnings we should never allow such payments again. They must have thought, "There seems to be discontent that we award ourselves £3.3m each. They're obviously concerned we won't be able to manage, so we'd better put it up a bit."

What could they be short of last year that meant they needed a rise? Did they tell their shareholders, "It's such a struggle. I get home on a Friday, buy a couple of pandas and a snooker table, pay for Placido Domingo to sing while I'm in the bath, and half my week's money's gone already." You almost have to admire the front. As if the Spanish said, "Here, you know that bailout. We spent it on a Damien Hirst giraffe stuffed with diamonds. Can we have another one?"

Maybe they've all got an, as yet, unrecognised condition, and one day we'll wonder how we were so heartless to sufferers of Compulsive Bonus Acceleration Infinite Greed Syndrome, which compels victims to swipe 10 per cent more each year or they rock backwards and forwards violently in their boardroom banging their heads on a desk.

As usual, it's justified as essential for encouraging success, because who's going to bother making an effort for less than £3.7m? It's a good job nurses get that much or our healthcare would be in a dreadful state.

Any economic situation seems to demand increasing pay for executives. In a boom, it's considered churlish not to pay gigantic bonuses, then, in a slump, we can only get the economy moving by paying them gigantic bonuses. If a group was stranded on a desert island and one of them was an executive for Glaxo, he'd say, "The first thing we need to survive is to give me £3.7m, otherwise we'll never start to get a shelter built."

So Vince Cable has announced he's to "water down" the restrictions he was planning to make on such payments. These new measures would have made it simpler for shareholders to vote down the pay awards, so instead he'll probably allow shareholders to make a light humming sound while the director is speaking, which can be quite off-putting and might make him think again.

Cable had hailed his changes as a "Shareholder Spring", which suggests he's not entirely up to speed on the revolutions in the Middle East. He must think Egyptians occupied Tahrir Square to ask Mubarak if he wouldn't mind reducing his powers, unless he didn't fancy it in which case he could give himself 10 per cent more.

Evening Standard: Massive 60% vote against Martin Sorrell's £13m WPP pay

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Austen Lloyd: Private Client Solicitor - Oxford

Excellent Salary : Austen Lloyd: OXFORD - REGIONAL FIRM - An excellent opportu...

Austen Lloyd: Clinical Negligence Associate / Partner - Bristol

Super Package: Austen Lloyd: BRISTOL - SENIOR CLINICAL NEGLIGENCE - An outstan...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Consultant - Solar Energy - OTE £50,000

£15000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Fantastic opportunities are ava...

Recruitment Genius: Compute Engineer

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Compute Engineer is required to join a globa...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Syrian refugee 'Nora' with her two month-old daughter. She was one of the first Syrians to come to the UK when the Government agreed to resettle 100 people from the country  

Open letter to David Cameron on Syrian refugees: 'Several hundred people' isn't good enough

Independent Voices
Amjad Bashir said Ukip had become a 'party of ruthless self-interest'  

Could Ukip turncoat Amjad Bashir be the Churchill of his day?

Matthew Norman
Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project