Jeff Fairburn to give away part of £110m Persimmon bonus

Jeff Fairburn

Persimmon chief executive Jeff Fairburn has decided to give a “substantial” amount of his £110 million bonus away through a charitable trust after he said that he never wanted to receive the money.

Mr Fairburn said he obtained the windfall as part of an uncapped bonus scheme which was in place before he became chief executive in 2013.

He now plans to set up a private charity “to benefit wider society over a sustained period of time”, though he gave no definitive details on how much of the bonus he would be giving away.

Mr Fairburn indicated that his wish had been to take an “old-fashioned approach” and keep the matter private, but conceded that this notion was misplaced.

In a statement issued this week he said: “I did not seek these levels of award nor do I consider it right to keep them entirely for myself.

“Once it became apparent that our outperformance would lead to a very significant award for me, I made plans to use a substantial proportion of the total to support the charities that are particularly important to me and my family.”

Persimmon’s chairman Nicholas Wrigley and the head of its pay committee Jonathan Davie were forced to quit in December last year following outrage over the uncapped pay scheme, which could see as much as £600m shared among the management team.

The growth since was fuelled in part by the UK government’s Help to Buy scheme, which has helped drive up sales of new homes. The initiative, launched by George Osborne in 2013, sees house buyers take an equity loan from the government of up to 20% of the cost of a new build home, and combining it with a 5% deposit and 75% mortgage. Scotland has its own scheme which works in the same way but with different thresholds.

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