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Unilever boss gets a whopping pay rise two months after Colman’s factory closure announcement

Unilever chief executive Paul Polman, who has seen his pay package surge by 51% to £10.3m in 2017 and is line for a bumper hike in salary and potential bonuses under an overhaul of executive pay. Picture: Laura Lean/PA Wire

Unilever chief executive Paul Polman, who has seen his pay package surge by 51% to £10.3m in 2017 and is line for a bumper hike in salary and potential bonuses under an overhaul of executive pay. Picture: Laura Lean/PA Wire

The boss of Colman’s Mustard owner Unilever saw his pay package surge by 51% to 11.6m euros (£10.3m) in 2017 and is line for a bumper hike in salary and potential bonuses under an overhaul of executive pay.

Colman's Mustard made by Unilever.
Picture: ANTONY KELLYColman's Mustard made by Unilever. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Chief executive Paul Polman’s mammoth 2017 pay deal includes a 1.15m euro (£1m) annual salary, 2.3 million euro (£2m) annual bonus and 7.2m euros (£6.4m) in long-term bonus scheme shares, according to the group’s annual report.

The news comes less than two months after Unilever announced it would move most of the production of Colman’s out of Norfolk and marks a big rise on his 7.7m euro (£6.8m) pay package for 2016.

READ: Colman’s departure will break a Norwich link dating back 160 years

MORE: Our campaign to keep Colman’s in Norwich



And Unilever revealed plans to hike his total fixed pay, including salary and benefits, by 5% to £1.45m in 2018 under a pay review that could also hand him up to 11.2m euros (£9.9m) in bonuses and shares a year.

This would mark a 23% rise in the current maximum potential for bonuses.

Unilever said its remuneration committee was “of the view that this increased maximum opportunity is fully justified by higher risk and more stretching performance requirements”.

But it risks stoking controversy over pay in the upcoming annual general meeting season.

Unilever said its new pay plans will see a raft of changes, including the requirement for bosses to invest up to 67% of their annual bonus in Unilever shares, which they need to hold for at least four years.

The remuneration committee added that to earn the maximum pay under the new five-year incentive plan, bosses will have to “deliver truly outstanding performance over the full five years”.

Details of its pay plans follow results for the Anglo-Dutch group earlier this month showing a 9% increase in annual profits to 8.15bn euros (£7.1bn).

The group announced a review of the future of its historic Norwich factory after site neighbour Britvic announced plans to leave the region in 2019 in October 2017.

In January Unilever confirmed the Bracondale site would close with all 113 jobs affected. Production of wet mustard will move to Burton-on-Trent with other roles going to Germany. A new smaller facility will remain in the Norwich area to mill and pack dry mustard powder.

Unilever, which is behind well-known household brands such as Dove, Marmite and Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, was boosted by a strong performance in emerging markets.

The results come after the group fended off a 143bn (£115bn) takeover attempt from Kraft Heinz last year, after which it offloaded its spreads business for 6.8bn euros (£6bn) to KKR.

As part of a rethink of the business after the hostile Kraft approach, Unilever is also reviewing its dual-headed legal structure in a move that is set to see it consolidate its headquarters in the UK or the Netherlands.

Its decision is reportedly due in the next two weeks and is being closely watched amid reports that it could ditch the UK HQ.

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