Wetherspoon chief takes pay cut as two directors sign off with £766k

FOUNDER and chief executive of pub group JD Wetherspoon, Tim Martin, has taken a £19,000 pay cut this year while two top directors have parted with the firm with combined total payments of £766,000.

Martin’s salary was £375,000 in the year to 24 July, according to the company’s annual report.

That compared with his 2010 figure of £394,000.

Meanwhile his shareholding has remained stable at more than 32m shares.

Finance director Keith Down left the company during the period and was paid a total of £415,000, which covered all the contractual obligations to him.

Similarly chief operating officer Paul Harbottle was handed £351,000, the annual report said.

It said pre-tax profits for the year were up 1.5 per per cent to £61.4m. The company opened 50 pubs while closing two, leaving a total of 823.

Like for like sales were up 0.4 per cent. However, on a bleak note the annual report said that the pub industry was seeing the pressure piled on by an increase in taxes.

“We believe that the current level of tax levied on the pub industry is unsustainable and is directly leading to the closure of many pubs, which have become uncompetitive in relation to neighbouring countries and to supermarkets.”

Martin founded the pub 1979, making it into a household name for its relatively low prices. He tours his bars about two days a week.