£1M pay mark: a step too far for FTSE100 lawyers

Only two solicitors on the boards of FTSE100 companies have earned more than £1m in salaries and bonuses, not including share entitlements, according to annual reports.

BAE Systems group legal director Michael Lester and Man Group deputy chief executive Peter Clark, a former solicitor, were the two legal industry figures to make more than £1m last year.

BHP Billiton chief legal counsel John Fast made more than $1m (£571,000), as the company pays in US dollars, but on conversion his cash package reaches £720,000.

The general counsel at aerospace company Smiths, David Lillycrop is also a board member. He was paid a base salary of £332,000, with £65,000 in benefits, for 2005. His bonus was £402,000, giving him a total package of £799,000. Lillycrop also has an accrued pension entitlement of £129,000 and has 77,754 ordinary shares in the company.

Lester and Lillycrop are the only two chief legal officers to hold board positions in the FTSE100.

BHP’s Fast is not a board member, but the company publishes the remuner- ation details for all of its senior management team.

Their annual salaries pale in comparison to the one-off windfalls made by general counsels Lynton Boardman of QinetiQ, the UK defence research agency, who made an immediate windfall of £310,000 and had his stock options valued at £1.8m, and PartyGaming’s David Abdoo, who pocketed £1.97m after selling 1.7-million shares.

BAE’s Lester’s total salary for 2005 was £1.1m, including a base salary of £540,000 and a bonus of £529,000. The company raised his base salary for 2006 to £567,500 at its annual general meeting.

Man Group’s Clark, a solicitor who moved into management, had a total pay package of £3.9m with a base salary of £342,000 and a bonus of £3.6m.