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paul batchelor - please sir, just a little bit mor

  1. 3,567 Posts.
    AMP Ltd took a tough stand on executive pay keeping a payout to Paul Batchelor to only $2.1 million - but the former chief executive says it's not enough.

    The troubled financial services giant sent a take-it-or-leave it cheque to Mr Batchelor at his Mosman home, on Sydney's north shore, early this afternoon.

    However Mr Batchelor fired back, saying the amount did not reflect what he was legally entitled to under his contract with AMP and he was "considering the alternatives available" to him.

    He also described reports that he was seeking a payout worth up to $20 million as "ill informed and incorrect".

    Sources close to the company said it was believed Mr Batchelor was seeking a figure "in the high teens".

    AMP's newly appointed chairman Peter Wilcox said neither side was able to agree on the size of the payout and that if Mr Batchelor wanted more money he would have to take AMP to court.

    He also revealed that AMP's board had considered during a meeting earlier this week not to make any payment at all to Mr Batchelor.

    AMP's directors ultimately decided that a $2.1 million payment - before $700,000 in tax was taken out - was "an appropriate reflection of his legal entitlements".

    "We believe this is an adequate payment in the circumstances, particularly considering the actions we have had to take since Mr Batchelor left," Mr Wilcox said.

    The news gave a much needed boost to AMP's shares, which have been trading at record low levels this week, pushing them up 29 cents to $6.45 on heavy turnover of 17 million shares.

    AMP's payout to Mr Batchelor is equivalent to about 18 months of his $1.0 million-plus base salary but is a far cry from the $13.2 million paid to his predecessor George Trumbull after he quit in 1999.

    Mr Batchelor resigned from his post in September last year amid controversy over AMP's ailing life insurance business in Britain and its falling share price.

    Chairman Stan Wallis agreed to step down at the same time and earlier this month bowed to public pressure and handed back his $1.6 million retirement benefit after AMP unveiled an $896 million loss for 2002.

    Another three outgoing AMP directors - Sir Malcolm Bates, Paul Mazoudier and Ian Renard - have also been urged not to take their retirement benefits of $1.1 million, $207,655 and $268,921.

    The Australian Shareholders Association (ASA) welcomed news of Mr Batchelor's payment but said he should follow Mr Wallis' lead and hand back the money to AMP.

    AMP's other three departing directors should also reconsider if it was appropriate for them to accept their payouts, the ASA added.

    "Mr Wilcox has displayed considerable courage by taking a lead in the fight against the grotesque payouts demanded by failed chief executives of listed public companies," the ASA said.

    "This may well be a turning point in the debate about executive payouts that has so alienated shareholders and the community in recent years."

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