Trinity Mirror offers Fox stock linked to his turnaround plan

Marion Dakers
TRINITY Mirror has axed bonuses and cut salaries for its top executives this year, though new boss Simon Fox could earn more than £5m in stock awards if he can double the ailing media group’s share price in the next two years.

The firm, which suffered a 46 per cent shareholder vote against its pay plan last year, said Fox has agreed to a £500,000 salary, down from predecessor Sly Bailey’s £750,000 base pay.

Bailey left the firm in June with a payment of £1.35m for the year, including a £896,000 severance payment and excluding long-term share awards, Trinity Mirror’s annual report out yesterday showed.

For his four months in the top job after taking over from Bailey, Fox earned £186,000 in salary, benefits and pension payments.

His possible cash bonus, while not awarded this year as the firm fell short of financial targets, cannot exceed 37.5 per cent of his salary. This compares to Bailey’s 110 per cent upper bonus limit.

Other directors including finance director Vijay Vaghela and legal boss Paul Vickers have also agreed to lower their maximum bonus payouts, as the board tries to bring pay into line with what shareholders find acceptable.

Fox has also been given 2.65m shares under the firm’s long-term incentive plan this year.

The shares will vest on a sliding scale in August 2015, with the full amount awarded if he can boost the company’s share price to 200p, and no payout if the stock is below 75p. At the top end of this range, Fox’s shares will be worth around £5.3m.

But Fox has a tough two years ahead if he is to earn the maximum share award. Trinity Mirror’s shares closed at 93p per cent yesterday, though this is up from 33.75p a year ago.

The company last month posted a 75 per cent fall in pre-tax profits to £18.9m, due in part to a slump in advertising revenues.