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Steve Rowe walks away from M&S with £2.6m package

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Former Marks & Spencer boss Steve Rowe witnessed his pay and bonus package more than double to £2.6 million for the past year as the cost-of-living crisis continues to bite for customers.

The retailer also confirmed that the new top three bosses at the business are in line for around £15 million if they meet bonus targets.

It comes shortly after the bosses of Tesco and Sainsbury’s also witnessed large jumps in their total pay deals despite the volatile economic backdrop.

Mr Rowe, who stepped down as chief executive officer of M&S last month, saw pay and bonuses jump from £1.07 million in the previous financial year.

Coronavirus – Fri Jul 24, 2020
The retailer swung to a profit in the final year of Mr Rowe’s leadership (Andrew Matthews/PA)

The former chief received a salary of £841,000 for the year to April 2 but saw his total pay deal lifted heavily by £1.6 million in bonus, alongside other benefits.

It came after Mr Rowe led the company to a pre-tax profit of £391.7 million for the year as it continued its lengthy turnaround.

During his six years leading the business, Mr Rowe was tasked with reversing the fortunes of the company’s declining clothing and home business as well as shaking up its store portfolio, leading to high street closures and staff redundancies.

Meanwhile, chief finance officer Eoin Tonge received a £1.85 million package for the year, representing a slight decrease on the previous financial year.

Mr Rowe handed over leadership of the chain to Stuart Machin and Katie Bickerstaffe last month, but will continue to advise the new leadership team in the short term.

CEO Stuart Machin will receive an annual salary of £800,000 and co-CEO Katie Bickerstaffe, who is working four days a week, will receive £750,000, the company said.

The two new bosses and Mr Tonge will now be in line for around £5 million each in 2025 if they each hit targets by that year.

In April, Marks & Spencer increased the basic rate of pay for 40,000 store workers, ensuring its base rate of pay is ahead of both national and real living wage including across London.

In its annual report, M&S also confirmed that it has no plans to return to physical shareholder meetings and will hold its annual general meeting virtually again later this year despite the easing of pandemic restrictions.

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