Persimmon hires chairman amid executive pay row

York-based housebuilder Persimmon — still under shareholder fire for excessive executive compensation — said corporate veteran Roger Devlin will join Persimmon as chairman from June 1, 2018.  

Last December, previous Persimmon chairman Nicholas Wrigley and remuneration committee chair Jonathan Davie resigned amid a row over excessive executive pay at the firm.

In February, Persimmon was forced to partially reduce the controversial bonuses following shareholder outrage at the package that could have seen CEO Jeff Fairburn receive a payout of around £100 million.

Shareholders were also unhappy about potentially huge payouts for Persimmon chief financial officer Mike Killoran and group managing director Dave Jenkinson.

Analysts estimated that under the latest attempted compromise, Fairburn’s package would be cut to about £75 million, Killoran would receive about £24 million less than the £78 million he was set to pocket, and Jenkinson would see his bonus cut by £2 million to about £38 million.

“Roger has extensive experience as an executive, non-executive and chairman in a wide range of companies and has recently been appointed chairman designate of William Hill plc,” said Persimmon.

“Since 2013 he has been chairman of leading pub operator and brewer, Marston’s plc, and he is also currently the senior independent director of the (English) Football Association. 

“He will step down from both Marston’s plc and the Football Association on 31 May 2018.”

Nigel Mills, senior independent director and acting chairman of Persimmon, said: “Following a very thorough process, the board has agreed that Roger is the right candidate to chair Persimmon. 

“I am sure that his wide business experience and his personal qualities will enable him to make a significant contribution to the future of the Group.”

Devlin said: “Persimmon has delivered excellent financial performance as well as materially increasing output in recent years.

“The housebuilding industry offers good growth prospects, and I look forward to working with (CEO) Jeff Fairburn, his executive team and the board in providing a broad range of quality homes to our valued customers while continuing the group’s track record of superior returns to shareholders.”