Allan Leighton, the former Asda executive who is lined up to be the Co-op’s new chairman, has accepted a 34.3m Danish kroner (£3.4m) payoff from Pandora, the jewellery brand, where he steps down as chief executive next month.
The cash and shares compensation payment, laid out in Pandora’s annual report, is equivalent to more than three times his annual salary last year. Leighton, who was chief executive for less than two years, will also remain on the Danish company’s board as co-deputy chairman.
Leighton moved from chairman to chief executive of Pandora in July 2013, taking over from Bjørn Gulden who moved to German sports brand Puma after overseeing a turnaround in fortunes at the business known for its charm bracelets.
Pandora floated on the Danish stock exchange in October 2010 but a few months later its shares plummeted when it was forced to issue a shock profit warning after trying to move upmarket.
One analyst, who declined to be named, said Leighton deserved the payout as he had been instrumental in turning around the company’s performance. “He has done an amazing job and the company’s intention was clearly to keep him around and to reward the way he has put the company back on track.”
Yesterday, shares in Pandora rose 16% as it revealed a 32.5% increase in group revenue to 11.9bn Danish kroner and a 39.5% rise in net profit to 3.1bn Danish kroner. The company said it would increase the annual dividend for shareholders by 38% while launching a 3.9bn kroner share buyback programme.
Leighton, who is credited with orchestrating a turnaround at Asda in the late 1990s, is expected to be confirmed as chairman of the Co-op within the next few weeks.
This article was written by Sarah Butler, for theguardian.com on Tuesday 17th February 2015 18.42 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010