Burberry finance director and vice president Stacey Cartwright has sold £1m of shares in the luxury brand group, to add to £2.65m of proceeds from share sales made less than four months ago.
Cartwright and Burberry chief executive Angela Ahrendts have between them generated £10m from selling stock since the end of July. The lion’s share of the windfall came after a long-term share bonus scheme released hundreds of thousands of shares to the two executives which they immediately sold, days after the price hit an all-time high.
Two weeks earlier, one in eight Burberry shareholders had voted in protest at the group’s boardroom pay arrangements, either marking their ballot papers against or abstaining in a vote on controversial pay deals. Corporate governance advisers Pirc had recommended voting against, describing arrangements for Ahrendts and Cartwright as "excessive" — in particular a one-off award to Ahrendts last December worth £5.8m.
Ahrendts and Cartwright told City investors last month there was "no evidence" of a slowdown at Burberry, reporting a near 30% rise in quarterly sales. Cartwright has said the group is well placed to protect profits in the event of a marked global slowdown.
Nevertheless, since the summer Burberry shares have been among the more volatile FTSE 100 stocks on an admittedly tumultuous market. The shares closed at £13.22 — down from a peak of £16 at the end of July, but having rallied from below £11 just over a month ago.
Two of the highest profile women directors in corporate Britain, Ahrendts and Cartwright are among only a handful of FTSE 100 female directors regularly paid more than £1m in cash, shares and benefits. Excluding long-term share payouts, Ahrendts’ pay deal was worth £3.5m last year, while Cartwright received £1.6m. Ahrendts last year received "allowances and benefits" worth £455,000, including car and clothing allowances.
The group has benefited in recent years from growing demand for luxury goods from emerging economies such as China and parts of Latin America. The management has been credited with carefully drawing the brand upmarket, bringing in creative director Christopher Bailey, buying out licence-holders and closing down discount outlet stores.
It remains to be seen whether Bailey will stay on as Chief Creative Director, once Angela Ahrendts’ contract is up at the end of this year.
adapted from The Guardian
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