Persimmon CEO in £100m pay row sets up trust

Jeff Fairburn

The CEO of York-based housebuilder Persimmon said on Wednesday he would set up a charitable trust after facing fierce criticism over an incentive plan that could see him receive share options worth more than £100 million.

Persimmon’s chairman Nicholas Wrigley and remuneration committee chair Jonathan Davie resigned in December after they failed to curb the scheme which was heavily criticised by rival firms and shareholders.

Persimmon CEO Jeff Fairburn said on Wednesday: “I recognise and profoundly regret that Persimmon’s strong performance over the last few years is being eclipsed by the controversy surrounding the 2012 LTIP award.

“Persimmon’s success as a business and the uncapped nature of the scheme has meant that the value of these awards has become very large.

“The introduction of the scheme pre-dates my appointment as chief executive and I would like to make it clear that I did not seek these levels of award nor do I consider it right to keep them entirely for myself.

“Once it became apparent that our outperformance would lead to a very significant award for me, I made plans to use a substantial proportion of the total to support the charities that are particularly important to me and my family.

“But, in what might be considered to be an old-fashioned approach, I believed that this was a personal matter and that I would be able to do this privately.

“It’s now clear that this belief was misplaced and so I am making my plans public and recognise that I should have done so sooner.

“I am setting up a private charitable trust which I plan to use to benefit wider society over a sustained period of time by supporting, in a very meaningful way, my chosen charities.”