Loblaw head got huge payout

Richard Currie was given a $10-million going-away present when he retired as president of Loblaw Cos. Ltd. At the end of last year, and has been promised $10-million more when he retires as president of George Weston Ltd.

The Globe and Mail
April 10, 2001

Loblaw head got huge payout
Currie paid $10-million retirement bonus, plus $9.2-million in salary, bonus, options
Oliver Bertin

Richard Currie was given a $10-million going-away present when he retired as president of Loblaw Cos. Ltd. At the end of last year, and has been promised $10-million more when he retires as president of George Weston Ltd.

These sums are in addition to Mr. Currie’s regular salary, bonus and stock options and are “in recognition of his outstanding contribution over many years,” the Weston proxy circular said.

Analysts, said Mr. Currie, a 63-year-old professional engineer and MBA, is one executive who probably deserves such a generous retirement package.

“He has created a lot of value for shareholders,” said Cynthia Rose-Martel, a financial analyst with Harris Partners Ltd.

Bill Chisholm of Dundee Securities Corp. said “$10-million is a lot of money, but he clearly built Weston and Loblaws over the last 25 years. I doubt the shareholders are unhappy. He has made a profit for the shareholders and jobs for the employees.”

Toronto-based Loblaws was widely considered one of the best-run supermarket chains in North America during his tenure. Sales passed the $20-billion mark for the first time in 2000, more than twice the revenue of 10 years ago, while profit pushed toward – but didn’t quite reach - $500-million.

The company’s executive compensation committee has three members: Two are executives of Wittington Investments Ltd., the holding company that controls Toronto-based Weston; the other is an outside director, Donald Fullerton, former chairman of Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce.

Mr. Currie last year was paid a salary of $1.45-million, a bonus of $1.25-million and he cashed in stock options worth $6.47-million, giving him a total of $9.2-million – plus the retirement gift.

Mr. Currie had a healthy salary in 2000, but his overall amount was not as healthy as that of his boss, Galen Weston, the company’s chairman, controlling shareholder and husband of Hilary Weston, Lieutenant-Governor of Ontario.

Mr. Weston was paid a salary of $1.6-million and a bonus of $1-million. But Mr. Weston cashed in stock options worth $17.7-million, giving him total compensation of $20.3-million.


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