Chief executive of Pearson, the publishing group behind the Financial Times newspaper and Penguin books, received cash and share awards worth £9.6m last year, making her Britain’s highest paid woman director of a FTSE 100 company
Dame Marjorie Scardino, the chief executive of Pearson, the publishing group behind the Financial Times newspaper and Penguin books, received cash and share awards worth £9.6m last year, making her Britain’s highest paid woman director of a FTSE 100 company.
The bumper package comes despite fraught relations with staff at some of Pearson’s operations, including the FT, where journalists this week called off planned strike action. In the group’s annual report, published on Friday, directors claimed Scardino and other directors had shown pay restraint designed to reflect “the action that continues to be taken across the company to control costs”. She is said to have suggested to the remuneration committee it would be inappropriate for her to receive an increase in basic salary.
Nevertheless, Scardino did take home almost £2.45m in basic salary, benefits and annual bonus. That figure includes a longstanding contribution to “housing costs” though US-born Scardino is now a British citizen who has been based here for many years. The company said this allowance has been in her contract since 1997 and has nothing to do with citizenship or relocation.
In addition, she received £644,500 of cash in lieu of pension contributions and received shares worth £6.5m from long-term awards.
Scardino is one of just five woman leaders of FTSE 100 companies. Others include fellow Americans Angela Ahrendts at Burberry and Cynthia Carroll, chief executive of mining group Anglo American. The two British blue chip bosses are Katherine Garrett-Cox at Alliance Trust and Alison Cooper at Imperial Tobacco.
Scardino is also one of the longest serving FSTE 100 bosses, having been Pearson chief executive for 15 years.
Last month she announced the group had made adjusted operating profits for 2011 of £942m, up 12% on 2010. “The external environment provides a testing backdrop for these results, and all our industries face some degree of turbulence,” she said. “But our strategy and long-term planning for change have helped us to another good year to add to our record of persistent out-performance. We believe those qualities, combined with the commitment and innovation of our people, will continue to serve our customers and our shareholders well.”
Shares in Pearson, which employs 41,000 staff, largely in its education publishing arm, have easily outperformed the FTSE 100 in recent years, rising more than 50% over five years compared to a 10% fall in the blue chip index.
Outside of her work at Pearson, Scardino has also been permitted to take up non-executive posts at Nokia and and MacArthur Foundation, for which she received a further £140,000 last year.
A significant change in Scardino’s pay arrangement was introduced in 2010, when she became eligible to receive an annual cash bonus of 180% of her base salary, compared to 150% previously.
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