British Energy (BE) has revealed that top executives have been promised bonuses worth 14 times their salary if they meet certain targets by 2008.
The disclosure, in a stock market relisting document, has caused controversy as the nuclear generator is only surviving thanks to public money.
Environmental charity Greenpeace said the public would be “appalled” by the remuneration offers, and said it would only perpetuate the view that the BE board was “out of touch with reality”.
But Mike Alexander, BE chief executive – who earns a basic salary of £400,000 a year – said payments to himself and five other senior executives would only be made if the company achieved highly demanding profits before exceptional items and tax of £1.6bn, and passed a range of tough targets on safety and plant efficiency.
“They are linked to a transformational performance,” he said.
More than 5,000 ordinary staff members, meanwhile, are being offered £3,000 worth of new shares a year if certain targets are reached.
Non-executives are to receive £10,000 initially, plus £13,000 per annum, as well as one-off payments, such as £1,000 for travel to or from the US, and £250 for each phone conference.