Which? to pay ex-CEO £300,000 in ‘contractual and termination’ costs 

26 Oct 2018 News

Which? will pay its outgoing chief executive £331,000 over the next two years in “contractual and termination costs”.  

Peter Vickary-Smith was one of the highest paid people in the charity sector and is due to leave his job as chief executive of Which? – registered as the Consumer’s Association – at the end of September. He earned nearly £500,000 for the year ending 30 June 2018. 

Its accounts show that for the 2017/18 financial year he earned £245,000 in basic salary, £166,000 as a bonus, £40,000 in allowances, £28,000 pension allowance and £16,000 benefit in kind. 

The accounts say that in the next financial years two years he would receive £331,000, which has been “accrued for in the year in connection with contractual employment and other termination payment obligations to the group chief executive, the largest component of which was payment in lieu of notice”.

Vickary-Smith announced he would be leaving to pursue a portfolio career in March 2018 and Anabel Hoult started as chief executive on 1 October. 

He is like to have earned around £60,000 in basic salary before leaving at the end of September, leaving around £270,000. 

The accounts described the payment as the result of “legacy remuneration and notice arrangements which are no longer offered to new joiners by the organisation”. It added that his departure date was earlier than his contractual notice “in order to facilitate an orderly handover to a new group chief executive”. 

Income was £100m 

Which?’s income for the year was £100m, slightly down on the previous year. Almost all its income comes from trading activity. Its expenditure was £104m. 

Which? employed on average 792 people during the year and staff costs accounted for £45m of its spending.

2019 will be a ‘defining year’ says chair

Which? appointed Dame Deirdre Hutton to carry out a governance review during the year and in the foreword to its report its chair, Tim Gardam, said: “It is vital for us to evolve and stay relevant for our members, employees and stakeholders. This is why I encouraged council to undertake a review of our governance, and we have asked Dame Deirdre Hutton, one of the UK’s great consumer champions, to act as independent chair. 

“The review will take an honest look at how we operate as an organisation, and consider whether we can streamline our procedures and decision making to improve effectiveness and be a clear example of a well-governed charity. We will be sharing an interim Issues Report with ordinary members before the AGM, and we will ensure to engage and consult throughout the process. 

“2019 will be a defining year in renewing Which? to become a truly modern, digital organisation that remains Britain’s most trusted advocate for improving consumers’ lives.” 

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