“Three Persimmon bosses have been paid nearly £200m in just two years as they cash in on Help to Buy.
Jeff Fairburn, Dave Jenkinson and Mike Killoran were handed £90m last year as the housebuilder racked up record profits of £1.1 billion.
That followed awards of £102.8m in 2017, taking their total earnings over the period to £192.8m.
Critics branded the ‘egregious’ payouts – which were disclosed in the company’s annual report – as ‘completely inappropriate’.
Persimmon has faced a fierce backlash over the rewards, which stem from a generous bonus scheme set up in 2012. The builder has also been criticised for shoddy workmanship and the sale of homes with rip-off leases.
Persimmon has benefited from the Government’s Help to Buy mortgage scheme that offers families loans from the taxpayer so they can secure a mortgage. Nearly half of the 16,449 homes it built last year were sold through Help to Buy as Persimmon cashed in on the subsidy.
The pay row, however, cost Fairburn his job. The 52-year-old – who was handed £45.7m in 2017 and a further £39m in 2018 – was forced out at the end of last year as Persimmon sought to draw a line under the scandal.
Chairman Roger Devlin, brought in to repair the company’s battered reputation, promoted Jenkinson to replace Fairburn.
In a bid to draw a line under the row, Jenkinson’s salary was held at £515,000, the same as when he was managing director, and he has agreed not to take a bonus this year. But the 51-year-old was paid £20.4m in 2017 and £25m last year, according to the annual report. Finance director Killoran, 56, was handed £36.7m in 2017 and £26m in 2018.
Sources at the company pointed out that these payouts dated back to the 2012 bonus scheme and would not be repeated.
And writing in the annual report, Devlin said the builder was transforming the way it behaved: ‘We are changing our pay and incentives to include greater emphasis on both quality and customer care with plans that are more rigorous than we have had in the past.’
But Luke Hildyard, director of the High Pay Centre, said: ‘These egregious pay outs are completely inappropriate.
‘They are a massive embarrassment for the company and really ought to be an embarrassment for the individuals as well.
‘It shows a total failure of corporate governance.
‘This view that a few top executives need these vast payments lavished upon them in order to get out of bed in the morning is worrying and damming of the culture at the business.
‘The company has tried to draw a line under this and this is the result of past practices. But it continues to cause damage.’
Labour MP John Mann, a member of the Treasury Select Committee, said: ‘These vast sums of money will rightly disgust homebuyers struggling to get on the ladder. They suggest once again that housebuilders’ profits – and pay packets – are out of control.’