John Lewis chairman paid 60 times average salary

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Charlie Mayfield, the chairman of John Lewis, received a basic salary 60-times larger than the group’s average member of staff last year, its latest annual report shows.

The former army officer, who joined the retailer as head of business development in 2000 before being appointed chairman six years ago, was its highest-paid director last year with a basic salary of £825,000.

John Lewis is owned by its 84,700 permanent members of staff, which it calls “partners”, who received a bonus worth 17 per cent of salary – equivalent to nine weeks’ extra pay – following a 16 per cent rise in profits to £410 million.

Including his bonus of £140,000 and other benefits, Mayfield received a total package worth almost £1.5 million.

The group, which also owns Waitrose, said its partners are paid a “competitive rate for good performance”. As well as taking account of rivals’ salaries, the firm sets pay ranges that are “sufficient to attracts and retain high-calibre people”.

Although Mayfield’s pay already dwarfs the £13,750 received by its average employee, it has the potential to be even higher, as John Lewis said its highest-paid partner can get up to 75-times average basic pay.

Yesterday’s pay revelations came as John Lewis said sales growth at its department stores slowed last week, as demand for home technology products suffered in comparison with last year’s boost from the digital television switchover. Sales in the week to 4 May were 1.8 per cent higher than the same period last year, down from the previous week’s 5.3 per cent increase.

The chain’s three Scottish stores were among its best performers, with Glasgow enjoying a 9.9 per cent rise. Takings at its Edinburgh branch grew 9.4 per cent and Aberdeen 8.3 per cent.