Warning for investors as FTSE executive pay falls

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While the average £5.4 million take home pay of the top brass remains 160 times higher than the average employee on £28,000 - after rising 330% between 1998 and 2015 - their total haul is nonetheless down 17% on the previous year.

The average FTSE 100 CEO pay package has dropped by 17%, according to a new report from the High Pay Centre and CIPD.

The annual study found average packages dropped from £5.4m in 2015 to £4.5m at a time when the median award of the full-time United Kingdom worker was £28,000.

High Pay Centre director Stefan Stern says "chasing the median" needs as much attention from the Government and investors as is given to earners at the top end of the scale, with bosses at the lower end of the league table "ratcheting up" their pay.

In fact, 60 of the FTSE 100 CEOs are paid more than 100 times the typical annual pay of a United Kingdom worker and the report also revealed a gender pay gap at the top of the UK's biggest companies.

"It is also, so far, a one-off", he added. "We want to see this trend continue".

There was a "clear disparity" in pay between female CEOs and their male counterparts who earn on average nearly twice as much, the survey showed, and still leaves most chief executives earning more than a 100 times the wage of the average worker.

That ratio was down from £148 in 2015, however.

CIPD chief executive Peter Cheese said: "We have to hope that the reversal in rising executive pay is the beginning of a re-think on how CEOs are rewarded, rather than a short-term reaction to political pressure".

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"Our analysis also shows a clear gender pay disparity at the top, with female CEOs receiving less than their male peers".

While Sorrell was the best paid CEO within the 100 biggest companies in the United Kingdom at £48.1m, the best-paid female was Alison Cooper, CEO of Imperial Brands, at £5.5m. 'This helps nobody but a few lucky top execs'.

They also urged the government to set voluntary workforce reporting standards to encourage all publicly listed organisations to provide better information on how they invest in, lead and manage their workforce for the long-term. Business Minister Margot James said measures will be announced soon.

A pay cut for Britain's top corporate leaders shows how setting compensation for chief executives is more of an exercise in guesswork than an exact science.

An annual assessment of FTSE 100 CEO pay packages released today shows that rewards at the top have dropped by nearly a fifth, but still remain extraordinarily high.

"As the High Pay Centre/CIPD report highlights, we need to introduce a fairer ratio between executive and average pay".

An IA spokesperson said: "Executive pay must be aligned with the long-term interests and strategy of the business, with senior executives being rewarded for successful performance over the longer term".

"Our concern is that if the government vacates this space, CEO remuneration will accelerate once more, undermining employee engagement and attempts to boost workplace productivity".

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