Four Which? senior executives earned more than £370,000, accounts show

The chief executive, Peter Vicary-Smith, was paid £490,000 in the year to June 2016, but the figure is £329,000 less than the charity said he would receive this financial year

Peter Vicary-Smith
Peter Vicary-Smith

Four senior executives at the consumers’ rights charity Which? earned more than £370,000 in 2015/16, the charity’s latest annual accounts show.

Peter Vicary-Smith, the chief executive of Which?, received a £490,000 salary, according to the charity’s accounts for the year to June 2016.

This included a basic salary of £235,000, a £54,000 bonus, £35,000 in allowances, a £15,000 benefit-in-kind and £26,000 in pension payments, according to the accounts.

The group’s long-term incentive plan scheme, which incentivises senior management to deliver long-term growth across its commercial businesses, saw Vicary-Smith paid a further £125,000, bringing his total salary for 2015/16 to £490,000.

The accounts also show that Which? had revenues of more than £100m for the second year running, and direct charitable spend has reached £12.8m – four times what it was a decade ago.

In February, the charity published its mid-year accounts following a Third Sector investigation into its senior executive pay. These accounts said that Vicary-Smith would be paid £819,000 in 2015/16, including long-term incentive payments of £493,000. The charity was unable to say within Third Sector's deadline why the remuneration figures published in its annual accounts differed so substantially from those published in its mid-year accounts.

Despite the change in figures, Vicary-Smith’s salary is still one of the highest in the sector, according to Third Sector’s pay study, published in 2015.

Two other named Which? directors, Chris Gardener, the managing director of Which? Publishing, and Jacques Cadranel, the group finance director, earned £441,000 and £379,000 respectively, the annual accounts say.

This included a basic pay of £183,000 and £159,000 for Gardener and Cadranel, plus long-term incentive payments of £151,000 and £139,000 respectively.

A fourth director, who was not named in the accounts, was paid between £370,001 and £380,000.

The accounts state that as the charity’s commercial valuation, which was £202.6m in June 2016, exceeded the maximum capped level of growth by £28.1m, a payment of 100 per cent of commercial salaries for 2015/16 was due to senior executives who were members of the long-term incentive plan scheme.

Senior staff only receive long-term incentive plan scheme payments for the work they carry out for the charity’s commercial arm. The charity said in the annual accounts that Vicary-Smith spends 70 per cent of his time on commercial activities and 30 per cent on its charitable work. Gardener and Cadranel both only work on Which?'s commercial operations, according to the accounts.

In a statement, Which? said: "All of our charitable activity is funded from commercial revenue, so it is vital we incentivise our senior staff to deliver long-term, sustainable business growth so that we can continue to campaign for change and help people with complex decisions."

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