Co-op exec Euan Sutherland to receive £3.6million

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Fat cat wages have always a bone of contention but it’s especially annoying given the financial state that the country finds itself in. When Euan Sutherland, the group chief executive of Co-op, told journalists last month that “The absolute point of the Co-op is to be different," he obviously wasn’t thinking about executive pay.

Sutherland is going to collect £3.6million in 2014, which is a combination of £1.5million salary, a £1.5m retention payment and enough cash to buy him out of the incentive schemes at his last employer, Kingfisher. In all, around £12million will be spent on the Co-op’s executives in 2014 which is double the money spent during the previous year.

The market shows that you don't need to spend £12million to get a decent board of directors. John Lewis doesn’t pay out anything like those numbers to its execs, and the top earners at Nationwide Building Society only earn those sorts of figures if they hit all the annual performance targets. At the moment Sutherland’s not outlined the firm’s targets for 2014, although he's promised that it will happen later in the month.

Someone within the Co-op’s obviously not happy with the large pay-outs mentioned as we got this information through an unnamed disgruntled employee. Sutherland’s response to the news was to use Facebook to say: “We seem to have an individual, or individuals, determined to undermine me personally, my team and the rest of the Group Board.”

It seems that the “absolute point” of the Co-op under Sutherland is to pay execs without incentivising them to hit performance targets and it seems like he’s running a regime that takes things a little too personally. Perhaps as the Co-op is a mutual, Sutherland believes it can be run without targets and bonus pay because there are no shareholders to worry about.

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