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Executive pay jumps in Britain despite recession: report

Basic salaries for executives at Britain’s top companies jumped 10 per cent last year despite the worst financial crisis in decades, a report said today.

world Updated: Sep 14, 2009 10:49 IST

Basic salaries for executives at Britain’s top companies jumped 10 per cent last year despite the worst financial crisis in decades, a report said on Monday.

Although bonuses were lower, the wages of executives rose at more than double the rate of inflation in 2008, an analysis of boardroom pay by the Guardian newspaper said.

The highest paid boss was Bart Becht, the chief executive of household goods group Reckitt Benckiser, who earned 36.8 million pounds ($61.3 million) in pay, bonuses, perks and share incentive schemes.

The second highest was Aidan Heavey, head of Tullow Oil, who took 28.8 million pounds, followed by Chip Goodyear, then CEO of mining giant BHP Billiton, who earned 23.8 million pounds.

The 10 most highly paid executives earned a combined 170 million pounds last year, up from 140 million pounds in 2007.

The rises came as markets including London’s FTSE tumbled last year, prompting many companies to impose pay freezes on staff and implement redundancies to slash costs.

The Guardian said the increases in basic pay for executives took the sting out of the fall in bonuses tied to performances of their companies.

Overall pay for directors of FTSE companies, including bonuses, fell by an average of five per cent, according to the newspaper.