Non-executive director fees rise significantly

Non-executive director fees have risen by an average 38 per cent among those companies that have reviewed fees this year.

According to John Ball, head of executive reward consulting at executive pay consultants Watson Wyatt: “This may be the start of a trend of significant pay increases for non-executives.

“Not only is the workload of non-executive directors growing considerably but there is increasing personal risk from regulation and litigation, and perhaps most importantly, a growing risk to personal reputation.”

According to Watson Wyatt’s 2004 Executive Reward Survey, the average fee for a FTSE 100 non-executive chairman is £198,500. Non-executive chairmen of FTSE100 companies are expected to work for an average 100 days per year.

For other FTSE 100 non-executives the average fee is £36,500, based on an average commitment of 18 days a year, but for those that have reviewed fees over the last year, the average is £40,000.

“While few non-executives undertake their roles purely for the money, we are likely to see upward pressure on fees better to reflect the increased pressures, responsibilities and required commitment,” Ball said.

“While only 26 per cent of companies in our survey increased non-executive director fees over the last year, it is likely that many of the others will feel the need to catch up over the following year, especially for key roles such as the chairmen of the audit and remuneration committees.”

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