Diageo CEO's Pay Cut by 1.1 Million Pounds as Performance Lags

  • Total compensation for CEO Menezes falls to 3.4 million pounds
  • CFO’s variable pay reduced by 50% as U.K. companies cut awards

Ivan Menezes

Photographer: Bryan van der Beek/Bloomberg

Diageo Plc cut the pay of its two top executives after the distiller missed performance targets, joining other U.K. companies in reining in management awards amid political and investor calls for restraint.

The London-based company cut the variable portion of Chief Executive Officer Ivan Menezes’ compensation by 35 percent, reducing his total pay for the latest financial year to 3.4 million pounds ($4.4 million) from 4.5 million pounds a year earlier. That part of Chief Financial Officer Kathy Mikells’ package was reduced by half, the company said in its annual report published Tuesday.

Menezes and Mikells are the latest of a number of U.K. executives whose pay has been cut after Prime Minister Theresa May decried the “irrational, unhealthy and growing gap” between compensation of managers and ordinary workers. Bosses of companies in the FTSE 100 Index made an average of 4.5 million pounds last year, down 17 percent from 2015, according to the High Pay Centre.

Diageo sets variable pay, including some share awards, based on average financial performance over the previous three years, gauged by the shareholder return, profit margin and sales growth. While net sales grew 4.3 percent in the 12 months that ended June 30, performance was weaker in the previous two years.

Diageo has stepped up efforts to boost its performance by selling assets such as the Gleneagles Hotel in Scotland and some wine brands to focus on its core whiskey and vodka lines. The company’s shares have risen since the U.K.’s vote to leave the European Union weakened the pound, lifting the value of overseas sales when converted into sterling. The stock got a further bump to record highs after Diageo announced a 1.5 billion-pound buyback last month.

— With assistance by Thomas Buckley

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