Today marks what unions and one particular think tank term ‘high pay day.’ It’s the day at which an average FTSE 100 CEO has earned the equivalent of the whole-year earnings of the so-called average worker.
As ever, the comparison is facile, the implication idiotic, and it is deserving of no more than these few words.
Of more interest to us are two CEOs who have done far more to create jobs, and economic opportunity, for ‘the average worker’ than the myriad commentators who will spend today on the airwaves demanding that CEOs are all hung from the nearest lamppost for being paid a sizeable wage.
We remain of the belief that when a CEO does the job he or she is paid for, the compensation is usually deserved.
Next CEO Lord Wolfson has, yet again, defied the high street’s gradual demise to up its profit forecast, even in the face of price hikes forced on it by supply chain cost increases.
Next’s success in recent years – and years to come, no doubt – has created jobs up and down the country.
It is a similar story for the retiring Greggs boss Roger Whiteside, who yesterday declared it was time for “adventure before dementia.”
His near-decade run at a firm that has under his tenure become something of a British institution has seen expansion, earnings growth and a very healthy growth in the share price.
The company has come through two challenges – the decline of the high street and the pandemic – and come out stronger. Whiteside’s leadership deserves credit; and he deserves to spend more time, as he said yesterday, with his new guitar.
So amidst the sturm und drang of the attention-grabbing high pay day, here’s to two chief executives who have worked hard to weather the storms of competitive retail and run companies which, combined, employ almost 40,000 people.
We’d say they’ve earned their crust – in the case of Whiteside, it’ll no doubt be nicely crisped, too.