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Is executive pay too high?

The public are obsessed with high executive pay. We take a look at why.

While sportsmen and celebrities are often admired for pulling down multimillion- pound deals, captains of industry are treated more severely. Often labelled as fat cats, their remuneration tends to attract more attention – and vitriol.

A number of recent cases have put chief executive pay back under the spotlight. Renault chairman Carlos Ghosn was sacked from his role as chair of Japanese car maker Nissan over alleged wrongdoing concerning his reward package. The internal inquiry turned into a criminal investigation and Ghosn remains in custody in Tokyo facing several charges relating to under-reporting his pay and financial misconduct.

Though Ghosn’s situation is extreme, he is not the only boss under scrutiny. In 2018, the now ex-CEO of Persimmon Homes, Jeff Fairburn, was vague enough about his £75m pay – including a £47m bonus awarded in 2017 – to spark a media storm that made his position at the house builder untenable.

This is an extract from the Business & Management Magazine, Issue 271, February 2019.

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