Persimmon pay policy to be probed as bosses take home more than £100 million

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Housebuilder Persimmon has confirmed that boss Jeff Fairburn is in line to pocket a near £75 million payout as shareholders prepare to put the firm’s remuneration policy under the microscope.

The group’s annual report for 2017 shows that Mr Fairburn stands to trouser £47.1 million as part of a generous pay award, representing a gigantic increase on 2016’s £2.1 million.

Mr Fairburn’s pay packet, which has been put under intense scrutiny by investors and outraged politicians, consists of a £675,270 base salary, a £1.3 million annual bonus and a whopping £44.9 million as part of a long term incentive plan.

To cap off a bumper year for the chief executive, a second tranche of shares worth about £25 million will become due in the summer.

The board will face down shareholders next month at Persimmon’s annual general meeting on April 25, with at least one investor, the Church of England, promising to vote against the company’s remuneration report.

Adam Matthews, head of engagement for the Church Commissioners and Church of England Pensions Board, said: “We are clearly still opposed to the level of remuneration.

“Whilst the company has shown some sensitivity to shareholder concerns, which we welcome, the quantum is still excessive and we will vote against the remuneration report at the AGM.”

Earlier this year, shareholders and politicians united to condemn what would have been an even higher £100 million payout, until Mr Fairburn voluntarily moved to calm the furore by handing back £25 million in bonuses.

He has also pledged to forgo his annual bonus next year and hand over a “substantial amount” of his pay award to charity.

Royal London Asset Management (RLAM), which holds a 0.5% stake in Persimmon, has said the pay awards were still “extremely generous”, even after the cuts.

Ashley Hamilton Claxton, head of responsible investment at RLAM, said: “Even after this reduction, in our view the scale of the remuneration on offer under this plan is still extremely generous given the Government’s support for the sector through the Help To Buy scheme.”

Persimmon revealed last month that annual profits jumped by a quarter to £966.1 million, boosted by booming demand for new builds and the Government’s Help to Buy scheme.

Collectively, three Persimmon bosses agreed to hand back about £50 million in bonuses last month to calm the mounting anger.

The annual report also showed that managing director Dave Jenkinson pocketed £20.4 million, up from £1.4 million in 2016.

Meanwhile finance chief Mike Killoran took home £36.7 million, also up from £1.4 million.

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