Crozier sparks controversy with £15m ITV pay deal

Should ITV shareholders really be fretting about the terms of new boss Adam Crozier's pay deal?

Last Updated: 10 Sep 2010

Adam Crozier hasn’t even started at ITV yet, and he’s already coming in for some stick. This weekend it was his pay deal that was making all the headlines; although Crozier will actually get a lower basic salary than predecessor Michael Grade, if you throw in bonuses and so on, he could earn £15m or so over five years. It’s a lot of money – but perhaps the more salient question for ITV shareholders is whether he has the credentials to deliver this kind of growth in the first place…

Depending on which paper you believe, Crozier’s ITV pay deal – which, we should point out, he hasn’t actually signed yet – could net him between £14m and £16m over the next five years. He’ll get a basic salary of about £750,000 a year (less than Grade), plus annual performance bonuses (potentially worth up to 150% of salary). On top of this, there’ll be a long-term bonus scheme, the extent of which will be determined by how well ITV performs over the next five years or so (presumably relative to its peers and/ or its current value).

Chairman Archie Norman, who appointed him, seems fairly unrepentant about this, telling journalists last week: ‘He will have a strong incentive to make the business perform, as you would expect.’ And if Crozier succeeds in earning this money, it’ll presumably be because he’s succeeded in increasing the company’s value. So you might argue that this is just a case of aligning incentives (it’s also less than half what ex-Sky boss Tony Ball wanted in order to take charge, incidentally).

The more pressing question is whether Crozier will actually be able to affect this kind of turnaround. The weekend coverage has focused on his undoubted schmoozing ability (there’s an interesting piece in the Guardian today about why TV companies are increasingly turning to slick ad men to bring their brand into the 21st century). In addition, his cost-cutting experience at the Royal Mail is likely to stand him in good stead if (as expected) he has to do the same thing at ITV. And after his time at the FA, he should be used to stroking big egos.

On the other hand, interim boss John Cresswell has already stolen some of his thunder on the cost-cutting score – and Crozier’s fractious time at the Royal Mail doesn’t suggest that he has a magic formula for pushing through change seamlessly, to say the least. Then there’s the worry that neither he nor Norman has any experience of ITV's supposed end-product, i.e. good telly programmes. They insist that ITV has no shortage of talent - but if their job is just to manage the purse strings, it's going to be hard for them to get the balance right between financial prudence and creative excellence. If Crozier pulls it off, perhaps he deserves that £15m.

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