Former WH Smith boss Stephen Clarke receives £3.4m final annual pay packet

Former WH Smith boss Stephen Clarke has been handed a £3.4 million farewell pay packet by the retailer for the past year after driving shares higher.

Stephen Clarke, who stepped down as chief executive at the end of October, saw his total pay for the year to August 31 rise jump by 18.6% from a £2.9 million deal in the previous year.

The company saw its value strengthen over the year as Mr Clarke improved sales across the group by continuing the expansion of its successful travel retail business.

Since the start of 2019, shares in the high street giant have jumped 37% to 2,398p.

WH Smith's former chief executive Stephen Clarke (WH Smith/PA)
WH Smith's former chief executive Stephen Clarke (WH Smith/PA)

The overall pay-out means that Mr Clarke will receive 207 times the average wage, based on a median figure, of a WH Smith employee.

His pay packet consisted of an annual salary of £568,000, up 3.2% from the same period last year, while his annual bonus rose by 10.7% to £908,000.

The largest single component of his pay deal was the £1.78 million sum which Mr Clarke received through long-term incentives, up 31.3% from 1.36 million for same period a year earlier.

According to the newly released annual report, Mr Clarke also received the same rate of salary for his final two months at WH Smith.

Mr Clarke was replaced as chief by retail veteran Carl Cowling at the start of November, who previously led the company’s high street business.

Mr Cowling received a £1.4 million package during the year, according to the annual report, as bonuses pushed him higher after receiving a base salary of £201,000.

Meanwhile, Robert Moorhead, the company’s chief finance officer and chief operating officer, saw his pay deal rise by 19% to £2.1 million.