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How FTSE fat cats are beating the squeeze with a pay bonanza

The £100m Men: Three bosses have amassed the massive sum over their careers as chief executives, from left: Erik Engstrom of publisher RELX, Rob Perrins of homebuilder Berkeley Group and Pascal Soriot of drug giant AstraZeneca

Britain’s top chefs pocketed an average of £4.4million last year – and were showered with perks, The Mail on Sunday can reveal.

The rewards were even higher for the top 20 earners in the FTSE100 pay league – their packages were worth a combined £178m last year.

And the MoS report reveals a trio of chief executives have joined the £100m club over the course of their careers as CEOs.

The £100m Men: Three bosses have amassed the massive sum over their careers as chief executives, from left: Erik Engstrom of publisher RELX, Rob Perrins of homebuilder Berkeley Group and Pascal Soriot of drug giant AstraZeneca

The £100m Men: Three bosses have amassed the massive sum over their careers as chief executives, from left: Erik Engstrom of publisher RELX, Rob Perrins of homebuilder Berkeley Group and Pascal Soriot of drug giant AstraZeneca

Conservative MPs say they fear the generosity will fuel social divisions and damage corporate reputations at a time when ordinary families are grappling with the cost of living crisis.

More than a tenth of companies in the FTSE100 are on a government list of infamy after shareholders outraged over excessive rewards.

The register of investor protests was introduced by Conservatives in 2017, fearing that corporate greed would damage the capitalist system. However, in most cases, companies simply ignore this and continue the generosity.

The Mail on Sunday can reveal:

  • The total bill for directors’ remuneration in the FTSE100 in 2021 was more than £440m, up 34% on the previous year;
  • Highest-paid FTSE100 boss in 2021 earned more than £19m;
  • Several FTSE bosses earn large sums from part-time jobs and lucrative perks.

Conservative MP Kevin Hollinrake, a member of the Treasury Select Committee, said: “I am fully in favor of the risk and reward system of compensation, but it seems that many of these executives are getting big rewards with very little risk.”

He added that there are fears this could “undermine capitalism itself”.

“I urge directors and shareholders to rein in these huge pay packages, especially at a time when many household finances are under severe pressure.”

Isn’t £8million enough Emma? GSK boss has £300k part-time job at Microsoft

Day job: GSK's Emma Walmsley earns £8.2m

Day job: GSK’s Emma Walmsley earns £8.2m

She makes £8.2million from her job as head of GlaxoSmithKline and launched a £31billion deal that flopped – but that hasn’t stopped Dame Emma Walmsley from taking up a lucrative “side job”.

Walmsley made almost £300,000 from a part-time role on the board of Microsoft last year. She is a member of the software giant’s Compensation and Regulatory Committees.

The GSK boss – the highest paid woman in the FTSE100 – took over the role in 2019.

That means she’s spent time working at Microsoft during the pandemic, even as GSK faltered in its efforts to develop a Covid vaccine.

She has been targeted by feared activist investor Elliott, who has repeatedly questioned whether she is the best person to lead GSK.

She led the separation of GSK’s pharmaceuticals arm from its consumer health business earlier this year, now listed separately on the FTSE100 as Haleon. The spin-off has proven disappointing.

Walmsley turned down a £50bn bid for Haleon from Unilever last year. However, since the spin-off, Haleon’s shares have fallen by a fifth and its market value is now under £25bn.

Other FTSE 100 bosses juggle their full-time jobs with supporting or even third-party roles. Peter Jackson, the boss of gaming titan Flutter, joined Deliveroo’s board in the spring.

The takeout giant – which lists Jackson’s favorite Deliveroo dish as Thai chicken curry – had a disastrous IPO debut in April 2021.

Jackson has taken on the role despite taking £8.4million from Flutter, which owns the Paddy Power and Betfair brands, last year.

Erik Engstrom, CEO of RELX, who made £100m during his tenure at the FTSE100 giant, earned a further £69,500 through his role on the board of medical device maker Smith & Nephew.

He is also on the board of the Stockholm-based media and publishing group Bonnier.

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Experian CEO Brian Cassin made £69,000 last year from his role on the Sainsbury’s board.

National Grid boss John Pettigrew increased his £6.5million salary package with a £70,000 top-up as senior independent director at pest control titan Rentokil.

Shell boss Ben van Beurden has pocketed £160,000 from his role on the board of German luxury carmaker Mercedes-Benz.

Among the ultra-rich corporate leaders is Swedish-born Erik Engstrom, 59, whose combined earnings as chief executive of publishing group RELX, formerly Reed Elsevier, surpassed £100m this year.

It would take an employee with an average full-time salary of £31,285 nearly 3,200 years to earn that amount. Engstrom, who has been at the helm since 2009, took home £9.6million in his most recent pay package.

Another £100million man is Rob Perrins, 57, the boss of upscale homebuilder Berkeley Group, who has been chief executive since 2009.

The third to clear the £100m hurdle is AstraZeneca boss Pascal Soriot, who has been in charge of the drugs giant for a decade.

Soriot complained in 2018 that he was one of the “worst paid” CEOs in pharma after being paid £9.4million.

However, many will feel he makes his money, as his company has partnered with Oxford University on a coronavirus vaccine that has saved millions of lives around the world.

The highest paid FTSE100 boss in 2021 was Frenchman Sebastien de Montessus.

The 47-year-old chief executive of gold miner Endeavor received more than £19million, prompting a huge revolt from shareholders.

His package included £8million to move from Toronto to London so he would not be “financially disadvantaged”. Conservative MP Bob Blackman said: “These numbers are neither fair nor reasonable. Leaders need to lead by example in demonstrating wage moderation, especially when we face cost-of-living issues.

“Directors need to think about whether they really need that income and what it’s doing to their customers, their shareholders and the employees of these companies.” Of course, I have nothing against people who make big money by taking risks with their own money and resources. But if they’re taking a chance with other people’s money or they’re just employed to run a business, then of course it’s grossly unfair for them to experience huge increments compared to their employees.’

Accountability: Sebastien de Montessus was paid £19million

Accountability: Sebastien de Montessus was paid £19million

Tesco boss Ken Murphy received £26,000 in benefits – more than most ordinary supermarket workers make in a year – just for the cost of commuting from Ireland to the company’s headquarters in Welwyn Garden City as part of his £4.75million package £ to cover.

Conservative MP Sir Geoffrey Clifton-Brown said: “We have a free market and people should be paid what they are worth. If they get the right results for their business, then they’re worth it.

“Nevertheless, they have to look at the picture they create for an entire system.

“For example, asking £26,000 to travel from one country to another looks quite contradictory and you have to wonder if such excesses are reasonable.”

More than 10 percent of companies in the elite FTSE100 index suffered big votes for pay and were placed on the official list of infamy.

Almost 30 per cent of Ocado investors have voted against a bonus plan that could net its chief executive Tim Steiner £100m over the next five years.

Around 50 companies in the FTSE250 index have seen similar revolts. However, such protests are ineffective and companies continue to pay immense sums with impunity.

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