LONDON (Reuters) - Tesco (TSCO.L) paid Chief Executive Dave Lewis a cash and shares bonus of almost 3 million pounds ($4.3 million) for its 2015-16 financial year, reflecting the progress he has made in turning around Britain’s biggest retailer.
Lewis, who succeeded the sacked Philip Clarke in September 2014, received total remuneration of 4.63 million pounds — his salary and bonus, plus pension of 313,000 pounds and additional benefits of 80,000 pounds, Tesco’s annual report showed.
Tesco said Lewis would defer half of the cash element of his bonus into shares which would vest on the earlier of three years or the resumption of dividend payments by the supermarket.
The average pay package for chief executives of companies in the blue chip FTSE 100 index was 5.23 million pounds last year, a Reuters examination of corporate filings shows.
Shareholders at a number of British companies have raised concerns over what they regard as excessive rewards for executives in recent weeks.
Tesco, which remains Britain’s largest supermarket group, also said that 265,000 UK employees will share a 185 million pound turnaround bonus.
The bonus, which averages out at just under 700 pounds per worker, will be paid next month and staff can take it either as cash or shares.
After Tesco was hammered by changing shopping habits and the rise of the German discounters, Aldi and Lidl, Lewis has impressed investors with his decisive action.
“We are on the road to recovery and momentum is building across the business,” he wrote in the annual report.
Brought in from consumer goods group Unilever, Lewis has put a renewed focus on lower prices, streamlined product ranges and improved customer service.
He has also simplified relationships with suppliers — the root cause of an accounting scandal that was uncovered just after he joined and is the subject of a criminal investigation by Britain’s Serious Fraud Office.
In April Tesco reported a first rise in underlying operating profit in four years and its first quarter of underlying UK sales growth for over three years.
Though Tesco shares are up 4 percent so far in 2016, they are down 32 percent compared to their price a year ago.
Reporting by James Davey; Editing by Keith Weir