October 15, 2012 9:30 pm

Rebekah Brooks received £7m pay-off

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Rebekah Brooks©Reuters

Rebekah Brooks

Rebekah Brooks, the former chief executive of News International, Rupert Murdoch’s UK newspapers business, received a pay-off totalling more than £7m following her resignation from the newspaper publisher last year.

The pay-off consisted of cash and pension payments as well as an allowance for legal fees and the use of a chauffeur-driven car, according to two people with knowledge of her compensation.

It also included clawback clauses, described by one of the two people as “substantial”. These entitle NI to recover some of the payment from Ms Brooks in certain circumstances, according to a third person familiar with the details of her exit package.

Ms Brooks, who is awaiting trial next year on multiple charges in relation to the phone hacking scandal, had been with NI since 1989. A spokesperson for NI declined to comment.

Andy Coulson, the former editor of the now defunct News of the World, who is also awaiting trial on charges related to phone hacking, is appealing against a high court ruling that NI does not need to pay his legal fees. The publisher stopped paying his legal fees in August 2011.

The revelation of the size of the payment, significantly higher than previous press reports of a cash payout of £1.7m, comes on the eve of the annual general meeting of News Corp, NI’s parent group, on Tuesday in Los Angeles.

Calpers, the California pension fund, along with fund managers Hermes and Legal & General, are voting against Mr Murdoch’s reappointment as chairman of News Corp.

Ms Brooks resigned in July last year amid a widening of the probe into phone-hacking at NI. This came after Mr Murdoch, chairman and chief executive of News Corp, backed her publicly to stay in the role.

His daughter, Elisabeth, chairman of Shine, the television production company which was acquired by News Corp last year, said in August that “within closed walls” she had argued Ms Brooks should resign as NI’s chief executive.

Ms Brooks has been charged with conspiracy to pervert the course of justice. She also faces three counts of conspiracy to intercept the communications of well-known people between 2000 and 2006 when she was editor of the News of the World and then the Sun. She also faces two charges of conspiracy to intercept voicemail messages including of Milly Dowler, the murdered schoolgirl from Surrey.

A proposed trial date has been set for September 9 next year.

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