Ex-Vodafone boss paid to return home

VODAFONE&rsquo;S former chief executive Arun Sarin was paid &pound;500,000 to return to his native US when he left the company, according to the company&rsquo;s annual report.<br /><br />In total, the former boss &ndash; who left Vodafone in July 2008 but remained as a consultant until February &ndash; picked up a payout of &pound;8.1m in his final year, after which he took a sabbatical before returning home to California.<br /><br />But new chief executive Vittorio Colao&rsquo;s bonus and salary package was cut 24 per cent to &pound;2.26m last year while finance director Andy Halford saw his drop by 18 per cent to &pound;1.51m.<br /><br />The new management has agreed to take no basic pay rise in 2009/10.<br /><br />&nbsp;&ldquo;Sarin&rsquo;s &pound;500,000 relocation payment was part of the contractual agreement drawn up when he joined the company,&rdquo; said a Vodafone spokesperson.<br /><br />The world&rsquo;s largest mobile telecoms company also highlighted it had kept Sarin on in a consultancy capacity, from when he stepped down in July last year until February this year, for which he was paid just the nominal sum of &pound;1.<br /><br />The &pound;8.1m package was made up of &pound;436,000 basic pay, a short-term bonus of &pound;434,000, perks &ndash; including the relocation fee &ndash; of &pound;553,000, cash instead of dividends on share plans and a &pound;6.1m long-term bonus, paid in shares.<br /><br />News of the payout comes amid growing concern from shareholders over executive pay. Shell, WPP and Royal Bank of Scotland have all recently faced shareholder revolts as remuneration schemes meet with outrage.<br /><br />Vodafone said last month that its pre-tax profit had slid by 53.5 per cent in the year to March 2009, hit by an impairment charge of &pound;5.9bn, mostly against its struggling Spanish business.<br /><br />The continued bleak economic outlook caused the company to accelerate its &pound;1bn cost cutting programme and shed 500 jobs in the UK.