Persimmon boss Jeff Fairburn gave up part of his £110 million bonus on Wednesday in a bid to quell the outrage over the mega-payout.
Fairburn’s windfall will land via a hugely controversial long-term share plan set up in 2012, before the Government’s Help to Buy scheme triggered a boom in housebuilding and the share prices of the major players.
Persimmon’s scheme was uncapped, leading to the mega-payouts for Fairburn and other senior managers and prompting the resignation of the company’s chairman and remuneration chief two months ago.
Housebuilding rivals like Redrow’s Steve Morgan have also hit out at Persimmon for trashing the reputation of the industry.
Fairburn said today he “profoundly regretted” that the row had eclipsed the builder’s performance and said he intended to give away a “substantial proportion” of his bonus to charity, although he refused to say how much he would give away and which charities would benefit.
He said he “did not seek these levels of award nor do I consider it right to keep them entirely for myself”, and always intended to give part of the award away.
“In what might be considered to be an old-fashioned approach, I believed that this was a personal matter and that I would be able to do this privately.
“It’s now clear that this belief was misplaced and so I am making my plans public and recognise that I should have done so sooner.”
Stefan Stern of the High Pay Centre said: “It is depressing that such numbers are being doled out through a broken pay system but it is encouraging that he has ended up in the right place.
“On this Ash Wednesday it is good to see that morality still matters. He’s giving up his bonus for Lent.”