Top Kerry Group executives net €5m

KERRY Group’s top executives pocketed over €5 million last year, the company’s annual report reveals.

The 19 executive and non-executive directors picked up €5.11m, up by €370,000, or 7%, on the previous year.

The percentage pay hike is less than the 10% rise in profits at the Tralee-based company last year. Kerry Group saw pre-tax profits last year rise to €297m on sales of €4.4 billion.

Chief executive Hugh Friel netted €1.2m, up from €1.1m in 2004. The 61-year-old was paid a basic salary of €675,000 and a performance bonus of €300,000. Pension contributions and benefit in kind payments made up the rest of his remuneration.

Veteran deputy chief executive Denis Cregan joined the growing ranks of bosses earning €1m, picking up a rise of €52,000 to €1.02m.

The two men most likely to succeed Mr Friel as chief executive received substantial pay rises.

The 44-year-old chief financial officer, Brian Mehigan, took home €77,000 more last year, a total of €693,000, while head of Kerry Foods Flor Healy earned €743,000, up from €525,000.

Stan McCarthy, who heads Kerry's American ingredients business, saw his pay fall from €787,000 to €708,000.

Chairman Denis Buckley was paid fees of €170,000 for his part-time role, while two directors Kevin Kelly and Michael Dowling were paid €90,000.

Kerry Shares were up one cent last night to €20.

Separately, it has emerged that two former directors of Paddy Power bookmakers walked away from the company with over €850,000.

The company's annual report shows John O'Reilly, who stepped down at the beginning of January, was paid a pension contribution of €300,000. He was paid a total of €1.05m last year.

Finance director Ross Ivers, who also stood down this year, was given a special pension payment of €307,000 and a bonus payment of €154,000. Mr Ivers, now chief executive of ISEQ-listed Irish Estates, received a total of €968,000.

Fintan Drury, the former RTÉ chairman who heads the Paddy Power board, was paid fees of €110,000.

Patrick Kennedy, who became chief executive designate last September was paid €301,000 for the period to end December.

Paddy Power, the country's largest bookmaker, saw profits slip 2% in 2005 after a run of poor results.

The company is preparing to launch a German language version of its website in a bid to attract European customers.

Paddy Power shares were also up one cent yesterday at €13.50.

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