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03 August 2004

A decade of executive excess
For the 10th successive year top executives' pay has rocketed, according to the latest Labour Research survey of boardroom pay. Directors of stock exchange companies earning over ?500,000 a year have seen average pay rises of 13.2% - about three times that of private sector workers generally.

It was also another record-breaking year in terms of the numbers breaking the ?1 million-a-year pay barrier. This year the survey traced 178 top executives on over ?1 million and a total of 637 on ?500,000 or more - both record figures.

Overall the total pay bill for the 637 top executives topped a whopping half a billion pounds (?593.08 million).

In all 10 Labour Research surveys the average rises have been in double percentage figures terms. The rise in the 2003 survey was 14.2% and this was preceded (going backwards) by annual rises of 16.1%, 18.1%, 21.2%, 10.7%, 15.7%, 16%, 16% and 10%.

The list of executives with the highest pay increases is headed by Tom Kirby, chair and chief executive of miniature model and computer games group, Games Workshop. A ?1 million three-year bonus helped give him a massive 368.9% rise over the year, taking his earnings to ?1.27 million.

Terry Hitchcock of financial services group Collins Stewart Tullett saw his bonus increase by three-and-a-half times to ?600,000, giving him an annual pay rise of 267.5%.

And the third largest increase went to Sir Richard Giordano, who retired as chair and director of gas group BG at the end of last year, a few months before his 70th birthday. His parting pay packet was just over ?1.79 million - representing a rise of 265.1%.

City men dominate the pay league taking three of the top five spots, including in first place, Michael Spencer, chief executive of broker ICAP. His ?4.93 million earnings included a ?2.5 million cash bonus, which helped move him up from last year's third-placed position in the survey.

Second place in the top-pay league went to Lord Browne, the chief executive of oil giant BP, who picked up ?4.78 million, while Bart Becht, chief executive of household products firm Reckitt Benckiser, cleaned up at number five with ?3.85 million last year.

The second City gent, Stanley Fink, chief executive of financial services group Man, came in at number three. He may have dropped from second spot in last year's survey, but his 2004 earnings were ?709,000 higher at ?4.52 million - a figure that was bolstered by a ?4 million bonus.

And the other finance man, Barclay's chief executive Matthew Barrett (at number four), saw his earnings balloon by 104.1% last year to ?3.92 million - again thanks to a huge annual bonus of ?1.92 million.

Notes to editors

1 The pay figures listed include basic pay, annual and long-term bonuses and benefits. They exclude golden handshakes, profits made on share options and pensions. A list of all directors receiving ?1,500,000 or more and further details are published in the August 2004 issue of Labour Research.

2 For further information contact Neal Moister on 0207 902 9818.

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