Friday 3 April 2020 10:18 am

Coronavirus: ITV bosses take 20 per cent pay cut as bonuses scrapped

ITV today scrapped director bonuses and said its entire board would take a 20 per cent pay cut in light of the coronavirus crisis.

The broadcaster became the latest company to announce executive salary cuts in the face of coronavirus, after scrapping its 2019 dividend and abandoning 2020 guidance.

Read more: ITV drops dividend and outlook as pandemic hits advertising

Executive directors asked that their annual bonus for 2020 be cancelled over the UK coronavirus lockdown. And they have also taken a 20 per cent voluntary pay cut until at least 30 June.

“In the event that the lockdown continues beyond 30 June 2020, the Committee will review this matter again at that time,” ITV said.

Non-executive ITV directors will also take the 20 per cent pay cut.

Read more: Advertising recession ‘highly probable’ as coronavirus hits key media owners

ITV broadcaster dropped its 2019 dividend late last month. And it scrapped plans for a 2020 investor payout over the UK coronavirus crisis.

The broadcaster expects to take a hit from advertising during the lockdown. That began last month to curb the spread of UK coronavirus cases.

ITV production staff could be furloughed

ITV enjoyed a record 9.5m viewers to Ant and Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway last week. But advertisers have cut their budgets, meaning ITV has struggled to monetise larger audiences.

It has also halted production on key shows like Coronation Street to comply with the government’s social distancing measures.

Read more: Primark bosses take 50 per cent pay cut over coronavirus

City A.M. understands production staff have been stood down on full pay as ITV looks into the government’s job retention scheme. That could see the government pay around 10 per cent of ITV staff 80 per cent of their salaries.

Today’s executive pay cut follows similar measures from other FTSE companies, including WPP, Taylor Wimpey, Chapel Down and Rentokil.

FTSE firms slash exec pay over UK coronavirus lockdown

And Primark owner Associated British Foods today revealed its board is taking pay cuts of up to 50 per cent. The retailer has shut all 110 UK stores amid the coronavirus lockdown.

Read more: Mike Ashley’s Frasers Group cuts executive pay amid coronavirus crisis

“Its board believes taking a pay cut is appropriate given that the business has considerably lowered its earnings expectations for the year,” AJ Bell investment director Russ Mould said.

“Directors taking a pay cut is the right thing to do, particularly if there are staff furloughed and receiving less than they normally would. It sends the message that everyone is in it together rather than just some of the workforce suffering the pain.”

ITV’s share price slipped 1.7 per cent to 58.28p this morning.

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