Royal Mail boss Greene to return £120,000 perk for buying house

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The chief executive of Royal Mail received almost £1.5m in pay and benefits in the last financial year, although she is returning £120,000 paid towards the cost of buying a house.

Moya Greene’s salary remained at £498,000, but extras included £399,000 under a short-term incentive plan, £200,000 in lieu of a pension and £127,000 in benefits such as medical insurance and return flights to her native Canada.

She also received £250,000 towards the cost of buying a house after the remuneration committee decided that a single payment should be made rather than an annual allowance. The sum amounted to £120,000 after tax.

In Royal Mail’s annual report and financial statements published yesterday, it was revealed that Business Secretary Vince Cable had told the remuneration committee it should have sought his approval for the payment.

“Although it had not done so, the remuneration committee considers it made its decision in good faith in exceptional circumstances. When she learned of this background, the chief executive voluntarily offered to return this assistance. The remuneration committee has accepted this offer and is arranging the process for repayment,” said a note in the report.

Mr Cable said: “I am pleased that this unapproved payment is being returned. The company acted quickly to rectify the situation.

“A mistake was made in not seeking my approval: I would not have approved it. The chairman is sorry; the payment is being returned. I now regard the matter closed.

“Moya Greene is an exceptionally good CEO and she and the board have my full support to take the company forward.”

Royal Mail said in a statement: “The remuneration committee appreciates that executive remuneration is a sensitive subject in the current economic environment. Under Moya Greene’s leadership, Royal Mail has been transformed. In 2010-11, Royal Mail was balance sheet insolvent with negative cash flows. The company also had going concern issues.

“For 2012-13, the Group reported positive free cash flow of £334m.”

The report was published a day after leaders of the Communication Workers Union decided to press ahead with a strike ballot of 115,000 Royal Mail workers over issues linked to the planned privatisation of the company.