Departing Pru chief exec Tidjane Thiam earned £11.9m in 2014

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French-Ivorian businessman Tidjane Thiam, who in 2009 became the first Black African to head up a FTSE100 company and three weeks ago announced he was standing down from his role as CEO of Prudential to join Credit Suisse, received a 36 per cent pay rise in 2014, taking home £11.9m after the UK insurer enjoyed a strong year.

52-year-old Tidjane Thiam has twice been named Britain’s most influential African
52-year-old Tidjane Thiam has twice been named Britain’s most influential African

Lord Turnbull, chairman of the Pru’s remuneration committee, justified the increase on the grounds that the remuneration policy was aligned to the company’s performance, saying that £100 invested in Prudential on January 1 2012 was worth £257 on December 31 2014.

“This performance outstripped that of other international insurance companies; this measure of total returns was the performance condition attached to the group performance share plan awards made in 2012, therefore the committee determined that these awards should be released in full in spring 2015,” he wrote.

Mr Thiam, who is replacing Brady Dougan as chief executive of Credit Suisse in June, was paid a basic salary of £1.06m. The largest component of his package was £8.25m from his long-term incentive plan. He also received the maximum possible bonus of double his salary — or £2.12m — £265,000 in pension benefits and £132,000 in taxable benefits.

In 2013, Mr Thiam received £8.7m, which was less than Mike Wells, the head of Jackson, Prudential’s US operations, who was paid £11.88m. In 2014, Mr Wells, who is expected to replace Mr Thiam, was paid £11.93m.

Since Mr Thiam became chief executive, Prudential’s share price has risen 185 per cent, compared to a 35 per cent gain in the FTSE100. In the last year it has risen 32 per cent.

Prudential further justified the pay rises by saying in the annual report that total shareholder return since December 2008 has increased 413 per cent, compared to 120 per cent for unspecified “international insurers” and 91 per cent for the FTSE 100.

Mr Thiam’s pay package in 2010, his first full year in charge, was £5.29m. He has twice been named the most influential African in the UK by Powerlist.

Mr Thiam could well take a significant pay cut when he moves to Credit Suisse. Mr Dougan, the man he will replace, received SFr9.7m (£6.75m) in 2014, his final year in charge.

Michael McLintock, chief executive of M&G, Prudential’s European investment management arm, was the next highest paid executive, receiving £5.58m, down from £6.49m in 2013.