Morrisons bosses in line for multi-million payout

Three Morrisons directors stand to make a combined £35 million from the supermarket’s sale to a US investment group.

The Big 4 grocer’s board this month recommended a £6.3 billion bid from a consortium led by private equity firm Fortress, valuing shares at 254p each.

Morrisons chief executive David Potts will make £19.6 million if the board honours share awards under long-term incentive plans.

He is guaranteed a £9.2 million payout on the shares he already owns.

READ MOREHedge funds wary despite market confidence in Morrisons

“This would be a vastly excessive windfall,” The High Pay Centre director Luke Hildyard told The Times.

“Pay for chief executives of listed companies is structured in a way that wildly over-estimates their importance.”

He argued that gratuitous share awards encouraged executives to give in to private equity bids.

Chief operating officer Trevor Strain and finance director Michael Gleeson could earn up to £11.5 million and £3.7 million respectively.

These figures could rise even higher if the deal is gatecrashed by a rival buyout firm, like Clayton, Dubilier and Rice, which made a 230p-a-share offer three weeks ago.

Potts will meet with business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng on Friday to explain his support for the Fortress offer.

The Morrisons boss drew criticism in June after the board recommended his maximum bonus of £1.7 million, despite profits being cut in half over 2020.

The award was later rejected by 70 per cent of shareholders.

Potts has been paid £23.8 million during his six years at the supermarket, while Strain has been paid £17 million.

FinanceSupermarkets

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