Unilever boss earns 292 times the average Unilever worker

The disparity between executive pay and the average no-frills salary at major Dutch listed companies is again in the public eye following the publication of new research focusing on Dutch companies.

Unilever, for example, awards its CEO Paul Polman a total remuneration package 292 times higher than the average salary at the Anglo-Dutch soup-to-soap giant which has a total payroll of 169,000, the Financieele Dagblad said on Friday.

The recently launched Dutch code for good business management requires companies to explain their internal pay ratios. The motivation, the FD says, is to have the supervisory board weigh both management compensation at other companies in the Netherlands and abroad, but also consider the effect of top salaries on the rest of the company when setting out pay scales.

The discussion is expected to result in a moderating effect on pay for top executives. These pay packages have risen far faster than pay for those at lower levels partly because of introduction of variable compensation in shares for top executives.

While Polman leads the pay ratio stakes, he is closely followed by Heineken’s Jean François van Boxmeer who receives remuneration 277 times the average worker at the brewer. This is swiftly followed by CEO pay packages at publisher RELX (184x), supermarket group Ahold Delhaize (182x) and, again a publisher, Wolters Kluwer 168x).

The smallest disparity between the top and the average pay is at ABN Amro bank (9x), engineering group Fugro (14x) and tank storage company Vopak (21x).

The average pay disparity among the 21 listed companies surveyed was 83. The FD commissioned salary consultancy Focus Orange to carry out the study.

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