Countrywide scraps pay incentive plan which would have seen bosses pocket £20m
- Countrywide scraps pay incentive scheme after protest by top shareholders
- Executives could have been eligible for £20m in incentives
Debt-ridden estate agent Countrywide has decided to scrap a pay plan which could have handed its executives £20million in incentives.
The group, which is looking to raise an emergency £140million to help service its mounting debt and stay afloat, recently announced a new share incentives pay policy for its senior team.
According to the group’s new ‘absolute growth plan’, chairman Peter Long, managing director Paul Creffield and finance chief Himanshu Raja would have been eligible for £20million in share awards.
U turn: The Bairstow Eves owner said the old remuneration policy will remain in place
But the incentive scheme was met with anger by top shareholders and today the group said it would stick to its original pay plan.
Countrywide, which is owned by private equity firm Oaktree Capital, operates several high street names including Bairstow Eves and Hamptons International.
‘The consultation meetings on remuneration with the major shareholders have been both constructive and supportive,’ Countrywide said.
‘There has been agreement that the proposals focus on rebuilding shareholder value as well as discussion as to whether that is sufficient to merit moving from the existing remuneration policy.
‘Taking these factors into consideration, the board has decided that the directors’ remuneration policy should not be amended and that the group’s existing remuneration policy and long-term incentive arrangements as approved by shareholders at the company’s annual general meeting held in 2017 will remain in place.’
It comes as investor advisory service Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS) labelled the incentives scheme ‘excessive’.
‘No compelling explanation has been provided as to why the proposed arrangement is essential to effectively implementing the group’s strategy and turnaround plan,’ ISS said.
Countrywide issued four profit warning in the last eight months and asked investors for £140million through a share placing and open offer.
The cash would reduce Countrywide’s net debt, which currently stands at around £200million, by 60 per cent.
Countrywide shares were 1.23 per cent higher at 14.78p in morning trading.