Monday, 18 July 2011

Association of British Insurers warns over poor governance at Cable and Wireless

Cable and Wireless share price has dropped 44% in the year since demerging into two companies - 'to release shareholder value'.

However the Association of British Insurers, representing investors holding some 20% of the share value of the London Stock Exchange, is not amused. Although possibly welcoming the ejection of the chief executive who has presided over this decline, they are outraged to find that his replacement is to be John Pluthero, the chairman, who may combine the two roles. This has earned the company one of their 'amber top' warnings.

They are also outraged by the decision to award shares to senior executives based on a four times multiple of salary (apparently, since reduced to three times), and to alter the performance targets in the light of 'turbulent markets'. Issuing executive share deals just after a sudden share price drop risks giving them a huge payout for pedestrian performance. Indeed, The Guardian reports that Pluthero has collected almost £15m since joining the company in 2005 - although shareholder value has declined 11%! Nice work if you can get it.

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