M&S chief awarded £4.7mn pay package amid retailer’s turnaround

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Marks and Spencer’s chief executive received the biggest pay package the retailer has awarded in a decade, taking home £4.7mn as the group continued to improve its fortunes. 

Chief executive Stuart Machin’s remuneration was higher than that of predecessors Steve Rowe and Marc Bolland, who earned up to £2.6mn a year in the past 10 years, according to the group’s annual report published on Monday.  

Since Machin took over the reins two years ago, he has presided over a revival of its food and clothing and home businesses after decades of failed reinventions, alongside chair Archie Norman and departing co-chief executive Katie Bickerstaffe.  

Bickerstaffe, who is stepping down in July after six years with the company and two as co-chief, but reporting to Machin, qualified for “good leaver” status, the company said. She was paid £4.4mn including a salary of £767,000 for the year to the end of March and a bonus of £1.3mn in addition to share awards. 

“She has had an important role in overseeing a marked improvement in the performance of the business and moves on with our best wishes,” M&S said in its report. Norman added that she had “brought a bolt of electricity to our proceedings”.

A proponent of flexible working, Bickerstaffe worked four days a week. At the time of her appointment as co-chief, M&S said it would pay her a £750,000 salary, in effect earning almost £140,000 more pro rata than Machin, who was full-time.

Last month, M&S boasted it was in the “strongest financial health since 1997” and posted a profit before tax and adjusted items of £716mn for the year to March 30, beating analysts’ expectations and the £453mn it made the previous year. It will also pay its first full-year dividend — of 3p a share — since 2019 and re-entered the FTSE 100 last year. Shares have risen about 63 per cent over the past 12 months.

Machin’s £4.7mn package included a salary of £818,000 and a £1.5mn bonus in addition to share awards. For the current financial year, M&S said his annual salary would go up to £848,720, and it intended to grant him share awards of 250 per cent of his salary, which would be linked to performance targets, “mindful of the need to incentivise executives and ensure they remain aligned with the long-term interests of shareholders”. Machin had earned £2.7mn in the previous year.

Both Machin and Bickerstaffe hit annual group targets to make the business more profitable, which accounted for the largest chunk of their bonuses. 

M&S said that when it came to Machin’s pay, “he received £1.69mn this year with the rest being deferred variable pay which is subject to holding periods and its value dependent on future share price performance”.


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