The £15m (€17m) pay package for incoming Marks & Spencer boss Marc Bolland was today defended by the retailer’s current chief, Stuart Rose.
Mr Bolland, the former head of supermarket Morrisons joins M&S as chief executive on May 1, and will get £7.5m (€8.8m) in cash and shares to compensate for share schemes forfeited by leaving his old job.
But Rose told the Sunday Telegraph: “At the end of the day, if you’re looking to get the right level of people and that is the market rate, you have to pay the market rate.
“If you look around that is what big retailer players are being paid at the moment.”
Mr Bolland, who will be paid £975,000 (€1.1bn) in basic salary at M&S, will also receive a potential bonus worth 250% of salary and a one-off award of shares worth a mammoth 400% of basic pay.
Rose stressed that Mr Bolland would only gain the payouts if he beat City expectations, although he acknowledged that the issue of soaring executive pay was a “problem”.
“I recognise it’s a problem, but it’s not a Marks & Spencer problem, it’s an industry problem being created by what shareholders have been saying – keep these guys with skin in the game.”
Mr Bolland joined Morrisons from brewing group Heineken in 2006 as chief executive and has transformed the once-ailing chain into the fastest growing of the big four grocers.
Morrisons has named Dalton Philips, a former executive for US giant and ASDA owner Wal-Mart, as Mr Bolland’s replacement.
M&S’s incoming chief executive has been on gardening leave from Morrisons since early December and holding talks to negotiate an early departure.
He handed in his year’s notice in November to join M&S and end the group’s hunt for a successor to current chief executive and chairman Sir Stuart, who will stay on as part-time chairman.