Green and Ball Board TV Gravy Train as Allen Alights

09 December 2003

Michael Green, chairman of Carlton Communications and deposed chairman-designate of ITV plc, will receive a £1.4 million ($2.43m; €1.99m) golden goodbye after thirty-four years at the helm of the company he founded.

The move triggered a predictable howl of protest from opponents of corporate excess, not least because Green has never had a formal contract with the company and made a public virtue of this. The payment equates to one year's salary and bonus -- opposition to which is "vindictive", the company accuses, adding that it would be "inappropriate" to allow him to depart "empty-handed".

"Empty-handed", however, is a strictly relative term. In addition to the £1.4m, Green's personal pension plan will be topped-up by two years' contributions from the company, plus his options on millions of Carlton shares will be converted into ITV stock options.

• Meantime, on the less fashionable side of London at BSkyB's Isleworth headquarters, even greater corporate largesse. Former chief executive Tony Ball reaped his reward for stepping down in favour of James Murdoch, receiving £10.7m for a two year non-compete agreement.

• By contrast, Granada chairman Charles Allen is virtually emulating an early Christian hermit. The controversial two-year rolling contract currently enjoyed by Allen is to be 'voluntarily' ceded as he prepares to take up the ceo's role at the merged ITV plc.
    According to press reports, Green's sacrifice is among a package of concessions notified Monday to ITV shareholders. By reducing the period to one year, Allen's contract is brought into line with corporate governance best practice guidelines.
    One institutional investor reportedly commented that he would prefer to see no compensation whatever. "The Allen track record is not that self-effacing," he told the Daily Telegraph. "You also have to question whether he is going to be around that long."

Data sourced from: Financial Times and Daily Telegraph; additional content by WARC staff