Persimmon chief executive to step down amid £75m bonus controversy

Jeff Fairburn

Housebuilder Persimmon has announced the departure of its chief executive Jeff Fairburn amid the long-running controversy over his £75 million bonus package.

The company said today that Mr Fairburn will step down on December 31 adding that the decision was “by mutual agreement and at the request of the company”.

Edinburgh-based financial giant Aberdeen Standard Investments led a shareholder revolt against Fairburn’s bonus award at the firm’s AGM in April. It launched a withering attack on the package in which it stated that the role of a chief executive “requires motivation that goes beyond simply amassing a fortune”.

The original figure was £100m but Fairburn agreed to donate £25m to charity.

Earlier in the year the Common Weal think-tank called on the Scottish Government to end Help to Buy subsidies after it was revealed that three Persimmon executives were awarded bonuses linked to the policy.

Persimmon said today: “Jeff has been a successful leader of the business since his appointment in 2013, but the Board believes that the distraction around his remuneration from the 2012 LTIP scheme continues to have a negative impact on the reputation of the business and consequently on Jeff’s ability to continue in his role.”

Jeff Fairburn said: “It has been an honour to lead Persimmon through an exciting period of development.  I had hoped that revealing my plans to create a charitable trust and to waive a proportion of the award would enable the Company to put the issue of the 2012 LTIP behind it.  However, this has not been the case and so it is clearly now in the best interests of Persimmon that I should step down.  I wish the Company the very best for the future.”

Current group managing director David Jenkinson will be appointed as interim group chief executive and will assume his new role on December 31.