Observer comment on Exec pay hike

Observer Hutton article

What The Observer’s Will Hutton says about executive pay hikes at The Cooperative Group – click picture to goto article

It couldn’t be clearer

“Nobody was ever meant to know that the entire team is to be paid retention payments; only the top three were to be publicised.”

The Members of The Cooperative Group Uk that is. Those of us who own and are supposed to be in democratic control of the organisation were not to know of a secret deal to pay off the ex-head of human resources for less than a year’s work, in Hutton’s words: ” The total pay-off is worth over £2m for 11 months’ work. She is in receipt of no more than an almighty bung, in a wider remuneration framework that has taken ” incentivisation” to gothic levels of irrationality.”

And the  new ‘saviour’ of the business and others were to receive million pounds plus ‘golden hellos’.

This morning the group has gone on a Twitter offensive saying that “The remuneration packages of our executives are in the middle of a range of comparable companies. This represents an increase on the pay of their predecessors to reflect the greater commercial, management and turnaround experience they are bringing to bear.” Did they not know that this was the job? Were they deceived by the low (over a million quid!) salary on offer that the job was a doddle?

Charlie Mayfield, the chairman of John Lewis, received a basic salary 60-times larger than the group’s average member of staff last year, its latest annual report shows. Including his bonus of £140,000 and other benefits, Mayfield received a total package worth almost £1.5 million.

Chief executive of The Cooperative Group  Euan Sutherland is to be offered a guaranteed retention payment of £1.5m, unrelated to performance, on top of his base pay of £1.5m to bring his total package (including other benefits) to £3.25m.”

As Will Hutton says: “There is no need to pay directors as much as 130 times the average wage, or 250 times the pay at the bottom of the Co-op pay spine.”

And where were the elected board members in this process? Nowhere? Silent? threatened with the old:”if we don’t do this we’ll lose the talented new CEO” approach?

If, like me a The Cooperative Group member, you have something to say about this, comment below or Tweet using #reclaimourcoop. If you want the Group to see your tweets include @TheCooperative.

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