Boss at B&Q group sees pay jump to £1.8m despite tumbling profits

The outgoing boss of B&Q owner Kingfisher has seen her total pay package swell to £1.8 million thanks to a hefty salary hike and bonus awards despite plunging profits.

Kingfisher’s annual report revealed that chief executive Veronique Laury’s overall pay rose 11% in the year to January 31 thanks to a £30,800 salary hike, £522,000 annual cash award and £333,700 in long-term bonus shares.

This comes despite a painful set of full-year figures in March revealed a 52.8% plunge in annual pre-tax profits to £322 million, when the group also revealed it was kicking off the search for Ms Laury’s successor.

FTSE 100 photos
FTSE 100 photos

Kingfisher has not yet set a departure date for its under-fire chief executive, who will remain in post until a successor is appointed.

The annual report showed Ms Laury’s salary was hiked by 4% to £800,900, while chief financial officer Karen Witts received a 5% pay rise to £615,800.

Kingfisher’s remuneration committee said the salary hike was in line with a previously disclosed aim to “move the salary of the CEO toward the market median”.

It added that the decision also followed “continued strong performance from both the CEO and CFO, and delivery of transformation objectives”.

The committee also said it awarded 82% of the maximum annual bonus payable in view of the “performance against the strategic milestones as set out above and a holistic view of business performance”.

But it comes as Ms Laury has faced increasing pressure after the group has suffered declining profits and sales despite her efforts under a five-year transformation plan launched in 2016.

The group’s recent full-year results showed B&Q sales dropped 3% on a like-for-like basis over the year, while Screwfix remained the star performer with a 4.1% rise in comparable sales.

The group also signalled it was moving away from its original plans for its overhaul to give a £500 million financial boost, as it said trading had been far tougher than it imagined.

It added it was considering axing another 15 stores group-wide over the next two years, on top of plans to shut all 19 Screwfix outlets in Germany, leaving it with just an online presence for the brand in that country.

B&Q’s turnaround has already seen Kingfisher shut 65 shops and slash around 3,000 jobs in the UK and Ireland.

It has also been shaking up its ranges and improving its online offering, while the group announced it was investing £100 million as part of plans to lower everyday prices.

Kingfisher has nearly 24,600 staff in the UK and Ireland and more than 61,500 overall.