Mike Ashley’s son-in-law could get £100m bonus in new pay deal

Frasers said that just over 15% of shareholder votes were cast against the pay deal despite criticism from advisory groups.

Henry Saker-Clark
Wednesday 29 September 2021 14:28
Shareholders for Sports Direct parent firm Frasers Group have approved its latest pay deal (Joe Giddens/PA)
Shareholders for Sports Direct parent firm Frasers Group have approved its latest pay deal (Joe Giddens/PA)

Shareholders in Mike Ashley-led retail giant Frasers Group have approved the firm’s pay deal which could hand incoming chief executive, and prospective son-in-law of Mr Ashley, Michael Murray, a £100 million share bonus.

Frasers, which owns brands including Sports Direct, House of Frasers and Flannels, said that just over 15% of shareholder votes were cast against the pay deal.

However, it easily passed the 50% threshold needed to gain approval for the package.

The move was expected to pass, particularly given that Newcastle United owner Mr Ashley owns an almost 60% stake in Frasers.

Sports Direct CEO Mike Ashley (right) leaves the Sports Direct headquarters in London with replacement Michael Murray (Kirsty O’Connor/PA)

Influential advisory groups Pirc and Glass Lewis had advised shareholders to vote against the remuneration plan, highlighting “excessive payouts” at the company.

The plan will hand Mr Murray the bumper bonus if the company’s shares reach £15, roughly double its current share price, for a consecutive 30-day period at any point over the next four years.

Mr Murray, who is currently head of elevation at the group, would receive the large cash reward on top of his £1 million annual salary.

It comes months after Mr Ashley announced that the 31-year-old will succeed him in the top job, with the retail veteran set to become an executive director.

The approved pay package could also see Frasers’ finance director Chris Wootton in line for up to £9 million if certain requirements are hit.

Frasers said the new share bonus scheme had targets which were both “stretching and achievable”.

However, the size of the payouts comes after the retailer group claimed £97 million in business rates relief and roughly £80 million in furlough payments from the Government.

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