Per­sim­mon boss re­jects chance to keep his job

The Daily Telegraph - Business - - Front Page - By Jack Tor­rance

OUSTED Per­sim­mon boss Jeff Fair­burn turned down a fi­nal chance to save his job by hand­ing back a big­ger chunk of his con­tro­ver­sial £75m bonus, The

Daily Tele­graph un­der­stands.

A large pro­por­tion of the bonus has vested but can­not be cashed in un­til 2021. Mr Fair­burn was of­fered the chance to forgo some. He de­clined.

The York-based house­builder re­vealed yes­ter­day it had asked Mr Fair­burn to leave fol­low­ing mount­ing crit­i­cism of his record-beat­ing pack­age, which it de­scribed as a “dis­trac­tion”.

Last year it was re­vealed he would re­ceive a £110m pack­age be­cause of the board’s fail­ure to place a cap on its long-term in­cen­tive scheme (LTIP), linked to Per­sim­mon’s share price.

He ini­tially re­jected sug­ges­tions that he should for­feit any of his bonus, be­fore agree­ing to give away an undis­closed sum to char­ity and ac­cept­ing a re­duced £75m pay­out in Fe­bru­ary.

While about a third of that has al­ready been cashed in, The Tele­graph un­der­stands Mr Fair­burn had been of­fered a chance to stay if he agreed to forgo a por­tion of the £50m of the bonus yet to be ex­er­cised.

Per­sim­mon con­firmed Mr Fair­burn would keep a set of “re­stricted” shares that will vest in 2021. But he will have a re­duced no­tice pe­riod of two months, mean­ing it does not have to pay his salary for an­other full year. Roger Devlin, Per­sim­mon’s chair­man, said: “Given the con­tin­u­ing dis­trac­tion around the scale of his re­mu­ner­a­tion re­sult­ing from the 2012 LTIP, the board be­lieves that it is now nec­es­sary for there to be to be a change of lead­er­ship.”

He said since Mr Fair­burn took charge in 2013, the com­pany nearly dou­bled its mar­ket cap­i­tal­i­sa­tion from £3.4bn to £7.5bn.

Mr Fair­burn said: “I had hoped that re­veal­ing my plans to cre­ate a char­i­ta­ble trust and to waive a pro­por­tion of the award would en­able the com­pany to put the is­sue of the 2012 LTIP be­hind it. How­ever, this has not been the case and so it is clearly now in the best in­ter­ests of Per­sim­mon that I should step down.”

David Jenk­in­son, a Per­sim­mon vet­eran and group man­ag­ing di­rec­tor, will be in­terim chief ex­ec­u­tive.

Toby Bel­som, of cam­paign group ShareAc­tion, said: “In­sti­tu­tional share­hold­ers were asleep at the wheel when they ap­proved this scheme. If they are to avoid sim­i­lar in­stances, they need to im­prove trans­parency on vot­ing prac­tices and be­come more re­bel­lious.”

Sep­a­rately, Per­sim­mon an­nounced a strong third-quar­ter trad­ing up­date, re­port­ing sales 3pc ahead of the pre­vi­ous year. The com­pany has now sold all of its stock for 2018 and booked £987m of for­ward sales, 9pc ahead of where it was at this point in 2017.

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