Britain’s Co-Op Group chief asks for 60% pay cut as job gets ‘easier’

160416 Richard Pennycook

Mr Richard Pennycook hit the headlines last week for doing the unexpected. The head of Britain’s Co-Op Group asked for a 60 per cent cut in his pay because his job just got “easier”.

The news made waves on a day when other reports on compensation packages were being announced for chief executives around the world, including one from Germany which claimed that top executives of the embattled carmaker Volkswagen had refused to forgo their bonuses.

Co-Op Group business was now back “in calmer waters”, Mr Pennycook said, justifying his request a cut in base salary from £1,250,000 (S$2.4m) to £750,000, as well as a cut in incentive payments.

Mr Pennycook took over as chief executive in 2014, when the group’s banking arm was going through a financial crisis. He had a total pay package of £3 million at the time.

After a three-year plan to steady the business – which includes 2,800 food stores, 1,000 funeral homes and financial services – bore fruit, Mr Pennycook decided that his pay should reflect the values of the group since his job had changed from a rescue operation to rebuilding. He credited the group’s 70,000 staff for the turnaround.

Chairman Allan Leighton said Mr Pennycook had earned every penny of his former salary.


Excerpt taken from The Straits Times, April 11, 2016



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