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28 November 2016

Fat cats still skimming the cream

Top company executives saw their remuneration packages ratchet up again last year – albeit at a slightly slower rate – according to the latest survey on executive pay by Labour Research magazine.

The survey set a total remuneration cut-off point of £1 million – so anyone below £1 million is not included – and finds a total remuneration bill of £1.51 billion for 513 executives.

The median (or midpoint) remuneration package was £2.08 million, almost 74 times more than the average worker’s 2016 salary of £28,213.

1,000% plus pay rises

In this year’s survey, year-on-year comparisons could be made for 404 executives. The median rise in their packages was 1.4%, down on the 8.1% rise in the 2015 survey. Despite this fall, 31 executives were nevertheless awarded rises of at least 100% on the previous year, and three of the rises were of at least 1,000%.

Morgan Jones and Ian Watson, joint chief executives of property group Hansteen, saw their packages soar by 2,415% and 2,408.5% respectively as they received share awards worth over £27 million each in 2015. Philip Monks, CEO at banking group Aldermore, saw a 1,017.5% hike in his package.

Meanwhile, regular pay rises in the whole economy have ranged from 1.4% to 2.3% since September 2015, according to the Office for National Statistics.

Despite continued dissent from angry shareholders at this year’s annual general meeting of the WPP advertising and PR group, its CEO, Sir Martin Sorrell, again tops the Labour Research league table of the highest paid FTSE paid executives. Sorrell has headed the league since Labour Research resumed examining executive pay in 2014.

Sorrell’s mammoth 2015 remuneration package is worth £70.42 million, considerably ahead – by £42.6 million – of second placed Ian Watson, joint chief executive of the Hansteen property group whose pay package came in at £27.82 million.

Third place in the 2016 survey goes to Morgan Jones, the other joint chief executive of Hansteen, whose package was just £3,000 smaller than Watson’s.


The mammoth packages make a mockery of prime minister Theresa May’s recent decision to row back on her promise of worker representation on company boards. Such representation is something that TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady emphasised would “inject a much-needed dose of reality into boardrooms”.

Full details are here in the December 2016 issue of Labour Research magazine, or contact Neal Moister.


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