Shareholders in mike ashleys frasers group have approved an unconventional bonus scheme that could make 10 of its employees millionaires if its share price triples over the next four years.
The potential 100m plan envisages a cash payout of up to four weeks salary being paid to all eligible employees, with share awards for up to 1,000 fearless staff whose performance has particularly impressed.
The share awards, approved at the companys annual meeting on wednesday, range from 5,000 shares that would potentially be given to 700 employees, to 100,000 for the 10 highest-ranking staff. the company employs more than 20,000 people.
In total, 10m shares would be available for distribution under the scheme. all are held by the groups employee share ownership trust, meaning that investors would not suffer any dilution.
Both the cash and share awards would be contingent on the groups share price reaching 10 during the next four years and remaining above that level for 30 consecutive days. at 10 a share, the maximum award would be worth 1m.
Shares in frasers, whose brands include sports direct and evans cycles, closed at 3.61 on wednesday. the highest level they have ever reached was 9.22 in 2014. according to capitaliq, the median target price among analysts is 3.25, though such targets are typically set for shorter timeframes than four years.
The groups chairman david daly described the 10 target as challenging but achievable given that the groups strategy of more upmarket stores was going from strength to strength.
Proxy voting adviser iss has said it saw no major issues with the plan and recommended that investors vote in favour.
Circumstances exist in which the awards could be reduced or revoked even if the share price condition is met. these include standard provisions such as for gross misconduct by the employee or the insolvency of the group, but also for potential reputational damage to frasers or the failure of employees to maintain satisfactory performance ratings.
Senior managers, executive directors and their family members are ineligible for the plan. pay policy for executives at frasers remains highly unusual; executive salaries are pegged at 150,000, a level last changed in 2002, and there is no long-term incentive plan.
Chris wootton, chief financial officer, is the only executive director other than mr ashley, who does not take a salary or a bonus. the remuneration committee has yet to determine whether mr wootton will be eligible to earn a bonus in respect of the current financial year.
He also does not own any shares in the company, whereas standard pay policy at large listed companies calls for executives to own stock worth at least their annual salary.
Although founder and chief executive mr ashley owns more than three-fifths of the group, frasers issued a media statement earlier in the day urging shareholders to vote in favour, while the meeting itself featured a presentation from workers representative cally price, who started as a saturday worker on a zero-hours contract and now manages a large store in cardiff.
In the event, all resolutions at the meeting were overwhelmingly passed.