Hollick Collects Cash Despite Shareholders' Veto

16 May 2005

Lord Clive Hollick of Notting Hill, Labour peer and former stockbroker turned media baron, ended his thirty-one year reign at United Business Media last week on a sour if enrichened note.

Fair enough that as chief executive he leaves the company with a £14.7 million ($27.24m; €21.54m) pension pot, say shareholders. But what sticks in their craw is that Hollick's final payoff has been gilded by a bonus of £250,000 for the taxing task of handing over the UBM reins to his successor David Levin.

So incensed were shareholders at this example of auto-largesse that a majority at the company's annual meeting on Thursday voted against the icing of Hollick's cake. Over 75% of the proxy votes voted against the bonus, 13% in favour and 11% abstained.

But business in the UK being conducted on its usual democratic lines, Hollick and his henchmen duly ignored shareholders' majority decision and filled a packing case with fifty thousand £50 notes.

Hollick, who now has even greater reason to whoop it up at his 60th birthday on Thursday, displayed characteristic humility over his contentious bonus: ""You can rest assured that if I hadn't felt I'd earned it I wouldn't have accepted it," he said.

Niall O'Shea of the Cooperative Insurance Society, a major UBM shareholder, saw it rather differently to His Lordship: ''In any other job ensuring a smooth transition would be considered part of an employee's normal duties. I don't see why an exception should be made for any director, no matter how good or long standing he is.'

O'Shea undoubtedly spoke for a majority of his colleagues.

As Hollick staggered laden with his gotten gains in towards the London office of US corporate raider Kohlberg Kravis Roberts where he will reign as European managing director, UBM permitted itself a vestige of regret for opening the petty cash box to its former boss.

"Sentiment had shifted" conceded the company, and vowed it would not "pay any bonuses of this particular type in the future".

Data sourced from Telegraph.co.uk; additional content by WARC staff