Monday 25 November 2019 4:20 pm

Boss of publisher Future set for £18m payday after shares surge

The boss of the publisher behind Tech Radar and Four Four Two is set to pocket an £18m bonus after overseeing a twentyfold increase in the firm’s share price in the last five years.

Zillah Byng-Thorne, chief executive of Future, is in line to receive roughly 1.25m shares through a long-term incentive plan after guiding the company through a period of rapid growth.

Read more: Media group Future buys Barcroft Studios as results beat expectations

The bonus, which could be exercised from Friday, was worth £17.6m at last week’s closing price. After a further 4.5 per cent increase today, the award is now valued at more than £18m.

The bumper payday comes as Byng-Thorne’s firm bucks the trend in a challenging media landscape, beating analysts’ estimates earlier this month with sharp full year revenue and profit growth.

The strong performance has been fuelled by an aggressive acquisition spree by Future, which snapped up a raft of consumer titles from TI Media in a £140m deal in October.

But the chief executive’s huge bonus, first reported by the Times, may spark a backlash from shareholders.

A third of investors voted against Future’s remuneration policy last year, when Byng-Thorne took home £4.8m.

Read more: Private equity firm Epiris to sell TI Media for £140m

Proxy advisory firm ISS advised its clients to vote against the pay package at the time, stating there was “no compelling rationale” for an increase to the maximum share plan award.

However, the continued strong performance may allay shareholder concerns about the high levels of executive pay.

Earlier this month Byng-Thorne told City A.M. it had been a “terrific year” for the FTSE 250 firm and said the board was recommending a final dividend of 1p for the year.

Main image credit: Future