The chief executive of housebuilder Persimmon Jeff Fairburn refused to answer questions about his massive £75m bonus in an awkward interview with the BBC yesterday.
Fairburn was in line for a bonus of over £100m last year before agreeing to donate £25m to charity to take his bonus to £75m.
In a TV interview at a brick factory Fairburn looked shocked at being questioned about the bonus and the furore that surrounded it.
A Persimmon spin doctor intervened to make it clear that they were there to talk about the brick factory and not Fairburn’s £75m bonus.
Fairburn said: “I’d rather not talk about that, it’s been well covered actually.”
— Spencer Stokes (@spencerstokestv) October 18, 2018
After the journalist persevered in asking about what he called “the biggest bonus in the country,” Fairburn raised his hands, walking away from the interview.
Off camera he can be heard saying to the journalist: “I think that’s really unfortunate actually that you have done that."
Fairburn and the executive team at Persimmon were widely condemned after details of their enormous pay packets came to light in December 2017.
Read more: Persimmon management to bag £600m bonus
After the outcry Fairburn’s bonus was cut to £75m, finance director Mike Killoran’s bonus was cut to £53m and managing director Dave Jenkinson’s was cut to £38m.
Persimmon’s strong growth in the period, which led to the massive bonus payouts, was boosted by the introduction of the government’s help-to-buy scheme.
Speaking in 2016 a Persimmon spokesperson said the controversial bonus scheme was "designed to drive outperformance through the housing cycle and to incentivise the management to deliver the capital return, grow the business and increase the share price."
Persimmon was contacted for comment.