Friday 02 December 2022

Good deal

There is a big fuss about the financial package Numico boss Jan Bennink will receive when the special foods group is sold to Danone. According to some reports, Bennink will receive almost €100m or €6,000 per hour for the five years he has worked at the company.

Left-wing politicians are hollering outrage at the pay deal. So too, the shareholders’ lobby group. And the social democrats want to freeze bosses’ bonuses while a company is in takeover talks.
But Numico shareholders and supervisory board are perfectly happy with the pay deal. Danone is also smiling broadly despite offering a big premium on Numico’s share price to take over the company.
Why? Because Bennink has performed superbly, transforming a company on its last legs into a gold-medal sprinter, adding €5bn in shareholder value in five years. If there was ever a case for a huge bonus, Bennink’s your man.
He says he didn’t do it for the money but for fun and adventure and worked 18 hour days virtually seven days a week. He comes from a grocer’s family where holidays consisted of a stint of seasonal labour at the local factory.
The fuss should really focus on the suspicions of insider trading prior to the takeover announcement. Trade in Numico shares soared and the bourse watchdog is investigating claims of possible insider trading. Perhaps more worrying is Bennink’s private life: does his wife ever see him?

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