Countrywide backs away from bumper pay plan for top bosses

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Countrywide backs away from bumper pay plan for top bosses

The estate agent said it would stick with existing pay plans after it met with top investors.


Countrywide is rowing back on changes to its pay (Andrew Matthews/PA)
Countrywide is rowing back on changes to its pay (Andrew Matthews/PA)

Struggling estate agent Countrywide has shelved plans that could have seen top bosses pocket millions following shareholder consternation at the proposed payouts.

The group, which is tapping investors for an emergency £140 million in funding, had planned to pay out as much as £20 million to a trio of executives as part of changes to its remuneration policy.

However, on Monday Countrywide said it would stick with existing pay plans after it met with top investors.

“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
Countrywide

“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.”

The new pay proposals – which would have seen chairman Peter Long, managing director Paul Creffield and finance chief Himanshu Raja be eligible for millions in share awards – were to be put to shareholders at its annual general meeting.

Earlier this year, Countrywide shares plunged more than 60% when the beleaguered estate agent said it was tapping investors for extra cash in the hope of servicing its debts and staying afloat.

On Monday, Countrywide said it was pleased with investor support for the £140 million equity raise, being sought as part of the rescue plan.

The funds will be used to reduce net debt by around 60%.

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