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John Condron, chief executive of Yell, received a 56 per cent boost to his package of salary, bonus and pension benefits for the year to March, just before a profit warning from the Yellow Pages publisher took 20 per cent off its shares in a day.
The rise in Mr Condron’s total remuneration, from £1.62m to £2.53m, came after Yell’s remuneration committee raised the maximum bonus payable during the year from 120 per cent of salary to 180 per cent.
The package comprised a 13 per cent rise in salary to £780,000, a 74 per cent jump in performance-related bonuses to £1.43m and “other benefits” of £320,000, up from £110,000 because of last year’s “A-day” change in how companies deal with pension accruals.
The rewards came in a financial year when Yell’s revenues rose 28 per cent, helped by acquisitions, and adjusted profits were up 18.5 per cent. However, a refinancing and higher interest charges related to the €3.3bn (£2.2bn) acquisition of Spain’s TPI directories group led to a 21 per cent fall in pre-tax profits.
The period preceded Yell’s warning in April that a sudden surge of competitive activity in the US would hold organic revenue growth back from its Yellow Book business to just 3 per cent for the next financial year, a third of what analysts had expected.
Shares in Yell fell from 612p to 488p on the day of the warning, and have yet to recover, standing at 478p last night.
The remuneration review, conducted by non-executive directors and Deloitte, sought to reflect Yell’s increased international scale, Yell said. Directors had discussed the proposed changes with big shareholders, it added.
The full 180 per cent bonus was paid out because of the management’s work towards last year’s favourable outcome to the Competition Commission review of the directories market, Yell said, and to reflect progress in the newly-acquired Spanish operations.