Britain’s top businessmen can look forward to retiring on pensions of more than £10,000 a week, with many on nearly £20,000 a week, according to research released this week.
The scale of the plunder comes as those same bosses back every move to hack away at the pension rights of workers in their own firms, other companies and in the public sector.
This month’s Labour Research magazine, shows that 112 directors of the top 100 firms will have pensions worth at least £200,000 a year, with 27 expecting £500,000 a year. Pensions hypocrisy will be a high profile issue at next week’s TUC congress in Brighton.
Top of Britain’s pension earners is Lord Browne, chief executive of BP, whose annual payout would be £991,000 if he retired now, equivalent to £19,000 a week. He is also entitled to a lump sum payment of a year’s salary, which would be worth some £1.5 million if he leaves the oil group at the end of 2008, as is currently planned.
The others in the top five are Sir Francis Mackay, who stood down as chairman of Compass in the summer (£830,000), Howard Frank of cruise company Carnival (£795,000), John Sunderland of Cadbury Schweppes (£762,000) and Antony Burgmans of Unilever (£762,000).
The survey, which looks at company annual reports for 2005-06, also found that directors can usually retire at 60. In some cases they can go much sooner, as was the case when Scottish Power chief executive Ian Russell left earlier this year.
His pension fund was doubled to £6.8 million on termination of his contract and he was able to retire immediately at 50.
The report states directors of energy group BG and financial services provider Friends Provident can leave at 55, while those asked to leave drugs group AstraZeneca can retire at 50.