Anger as boss of anti-poverty company is paid £1m a year
A GOVERNMENT-OWNED firm set up to help alleviate poverty in the developing world paid its chief executive nearly £1 million a year, it was revealed yesterday.
The pay package of CDC Group's Richard Laing was described as "extraordinary" by the House of Commons public accounts committee.
It found Mr Laing's package had soared from 383,000 in 2003 to 970,000 in 2007 as the company instituted "steep increases" in executive rewards without properly consulting its 100 per cent shareholder, the Department for International Development (DFID).
MPs also raised concerns about CDC's decision to hold some 1.4 billion – more than half its 2.7 billion capital – in the UK, rather than investing it in developing countries.
And they questioned the decision to focus an increasing proportion of CDC investments in countries such as China and India, which are already attracting foreign investors.
CDC is a fund management firm that invests in businesses in emerging markets in support of DFID's goal of nurturing the private sector in developing countries.
It has had no government funding since 1995.
It invests in 600 companies, which together directly employ almost a million people in poor countries. A recent report by the National Audit Office found it had achieved "exceptionally good financial performance", increasing its assets from 1.1 billion to 2.7 billion since 2004. But MPs said there was "limited evidence" of the impact of its activities on poverty reduction.
And John Hilary, executive director at the anti-poverty charity War on Want, said: "CDC has long abandoned any interest in poverty reduction. (It] is focused instead on wealth creation for the affluent, including its own chief executive Richard Laing, who is paid close to 1 million a year. This is a travesty of the organisation's original mandate."
However, a CDC spokesman said the pay of senior staff was performance-related and that its chief executive's package fell in 2008 to 570,000.
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