Business

Esure execs miss out on millions as founder Wood’s pay nudges up

Sir Peter Wood, the insurance tycoon founder of Esure, saw his pay nudge up as remuneration for top execs at the firm was slashed by millions of pounds.

Wood, whose non-exec position saw him steering clear from day-to-day responsibilities, took home almost £800,000 in 2017, according to financial statements published today.

Stuart Vann, who quit this January, and his interim replacement Darren Ogden saw their combined annual pay packets fall from £4.8m to £2.3m.

Having made his name launching Direct Line in the 1980s Wood made his fortune by selling the insurer to Royal Bank of Scotland later in the decade. He founded Esure in 1999 and retains a 31 per cent stake. Wood placed 187th in the 2017 Sunday Times Rich List with an estimated wealth of £693m.

Esure's seven other non-exec directors shared £500,000 between them, with only one – Shirley Garrood – taking home six-figures. Outgoing Pension Protection Fund boss Alan Rubenstein was paid £55,387 in his first year as a non-exec of the Reigate-headquartered firm.

Read more: Esure boss Stuart Vann steps down with immediate effect

Long-term strategy

Vann stepped down with immediate effect earlier this year after 17 years with the group, in order to help the company "evolve its long-term strategy". Ogden, who was the firm's finance chief is babysitting the top role while Wood searches for a long-term successor.

Esure shareholders were treated to an up and down 2017. After spinning off Gocompare in September 2016 the company's stock rose steadily from just over 200p at the start of 2017 to over 300p by July. Despite the remaining volatile, shares have subsequently been on a downward trajectory. They are currently trading at around 215p each.

Neither Vann nor Ogden received a bonus last year, compared to the £1.5m and £1m they received respectively in 2016.

Wood wrote Vann's departure "will allow new leadership, steeped in digital and data experience, to take the business to the next level".

Ogden, meanwhile, insisted 2017 had been a year of "significant delivery" and the FTSE 250 firm was on track to deliver its long-term target of 3m in-force policies by 2020.

Read more: Insurance tycoon books multi-million pound payday on Esure's record quarter

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