Directors face salary freeze

CHAIRMEN and non-executive directors are facing a second year of frozen pay this year despite bearing bigger workloads and greater personal responsibility.

Almost 80 per cent of chairmen believe they will receive no pay rise in 2011 – the second year without a rise for most, as 85 per cent received no increase in 2010, according to a new survey by remuneration consultancy MM&K and recruitment firm Russell Reynolds Associates, led by chief executive Matthew Wright.

Board fees are expected to rise just over two per cent in 2011, but 65 per cent of non-execs believe they will see no fee rise this year and more than 80 per cent had fees frozen last year.

Only FTSE 100 boards saw some benefit – on average, chairmen’s fees have risen seven per cent annually since 2005, and non-exec fees have increased by five per cent each year.

Yet a raft of new corporate governance regulation including a revamped Combined Code, and an increased focus on board responsibility after the financial crisis, mean many feel more burdened by their work. And with many chairmen of listed companies earning just £1,500 per day, rising to £4,500 for FTSE 100 firms, their day rate looks cheap for the responsibility they bear.