Flutter approves massive pay rises for top executives
Flutter, owner of Paddy Power, has approved double-digit pay rises for its CEO and chief financial officer, despite opposition from two activist investors.
It brings Chief Executive Officer Peter Jackson’s salary to just under £1.2m (€1.4m) after a 26 per cent increase and Chief Financial Officer Jonathan Hill’s salary to £715,000 (€849,000), an increase of 20 percent compared to 2021.
The board approved the increase at its annual general meeting in Dublin on Thursday.
Chairman Gary McGann later told reporters Flutter needs to retain and attract talent and still pays executives less than its UK and US competitors.
He said at least 70 percent of shareholders approved the raise and that it would have “no impact on the stock price at all.”
Flutter shares are down nearly 50 percent year-on-year as the pandemic boom in home gambling fades.
Shares rose 1.04 percent to €95.42 in Euronext trading at 1 p.m., just over an hour after the end of the board meeting.
“We need to put together a package that’s actually attractive to keep Peter and Jonathan and if they ever leave, recruit that quality,” Mr McGann said.
“This is an incredibly competitive sector. The digital consumer sector is probably the most competitive sector in the world right now.”
At Friday’s board meeting, Flutter received backlash from 1,000 university students who had invested in the company through the Trinity Student Managed Fund.
According to Olwyn Patterson, head of the fund’s environmental, social and governance (ESG) and social responsibility department, Trinity students are “not happy” with Flutter’s success in helping problem gamblers – particularly young men.
CEO Peter Jackson said Flutter has done more than its competitors to address problem gambling, measuring the percentage of earnings from players with a deposit limit (in Australia) and the percentage of those who self-exclude within the year (in the UK and Ireland ). .
He said the average Flutter user only spends €10 a week.
“These are small amounts. Some of our competitors start with significantly higher average spend. We are consistently leading this race to the top.”
Last month Flutter reported a pre-tax loss of £288m, with adjusted earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization of £1,001m, down 18 per cent from 2020.
Flutter recently added Italian online gaming site Sisal and UK online bingo provider Tombola to its portfolio. The acquisitions follow a merger with Toronto-listed Stars Group in 2020 and the acquisition of US giant FanDuel in 2018.
Mr Jackson said Flutter is focused on recent acquisitions and the US market and has no further acquisitions in mind.
“We’re having our hands full dealing with all of this right now, but we’re still winning in America. That’s what we need to focus on. The opportunities there are enormous.”
Flutter is unlikely to launch FanDuel any time soon, Mr Jackson hinted, saying the market for IPOs is “not open” and that the company “does not” need to be listed in the US.
Flutter will release its first quarter 2022 results next week.
https://www.independent.ie/business/technology/tech-gaming/flutter-approves-bumper-pay-rises-for-top-executives-41596988.html Flutter approves massive pay rises for top executives