After RHI, Moy Park’s highest paid director’s salary shot up 180 per cent to £2.6 million

Moy Park’s accounts show that the salary which it pays to its top director went through the roof in the period after RHI had helped facilitate its huge expansion.

Moy Park's accounts say that its highest paid director got £2.6m in 2018 - but the company insists chief executive Chris Kirke did not get that sum
Moy Park's accounts say that its highest paid director got £2.6m in 2018 - but the company insists chief executive Chris Kirke did not get that sum

In 2017, the then chief executive Janet McCollum had been paid £930,000 in salary and pension contributions.

However, in May 2018 she was replaced by Chris Kirke, pictured, and the company’s 2018 accounts show that the salary and pension for its highest paid director increased by 180% to £2.6 million a year.

The company’s profits increased hugely as its expanded over recent years, with the new RHI income important to persuading some farmers to put up new chicken sheds and to get banks to lend for those assets.

The News Letter put it to Moy Park that the huge hike in what it pays its chief executive appeared surprising at a time when the company has said that it is aggressively cutting costs, and we asked whether that increase was a result of increased profitability from the expansion assisted by RHI.

In a terse response earlier this week, the company said: “The inferences drawn, and the conclusions reached by Mr McBride are misinformed.”

The firm provided no further explanation.

However, after the publication of this story this morning the company – which as the News Letter today revealed misled the public over the money which it made from RHI – contacted us to state that Mr Kirke had not been paid £2.6 million in 2018.

The company also provided the News Letter with a page from its company accounts, which it said were filed with Companies House on Friday but which are still not publicly available. They show that the company’s top paid director last year received £710,000.

In an attempt to understand why the company’s accounts state that £2.6 million was paid to its highest paid director, we asked the company whether its accounts were inaccurate.

We also asked if the company was saying that because Mr Kirke joined the business during the year the £2.6 million figure is his pro rata remuneration for the year but he did not actually get all of the money because he did not work a full 12-month year.

And we asked whether, alternatively, it was saying that Mr Kirke did get £2.6 million that year – whether as his actual remuneration, or his pro rata annual remuneration – but last year that fell to £710,000.

In response, the company did not explain why its accounts stated the figure of £2.6 million, but a spokesperson simply said: “Any suggestion that salary levels were in any way related to RHI is unfounded and entirely inaccurate”.

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