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Richemont CEOs Are Top-Paid Europe Executives After VW Boss

Richemont co-chief executive officers Richard Lepeu and Bernard Fornas are catching up with Volkswagen AG’s Martin Winterkorn as the top-paid executives in Europe, according to a study by HKP.
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  • Bloomberg

PARIS, France — Richemont co-Chief Executive Officers Richard Lepeu and Bernard Fornas are catching up with Volkswagen AG's Martin Winterkorn as the top-paid executives in Europe, according to a study by compensation consultancy HKP.

Winterkorn, the top earner, was paid 14.9 million euros ($16.6 million) at the German carmaker, while Lepeu got 11.6 million and Fornas 10 million at the Swiss luxury-goods maker, HKP said in a statement on its website. HKP based its study on annual reports from companies listed on the Stoxx Europe 50 and Euro Stoxx 50 indexes.

Half of the 10 highest paid CEOs were at Swiss companies, with Novartis AG’s Joseph Jimenez, UBS Group AG’s Sergio Ermotti and Roche Holding AG’s Severin Schwan ranking as No. 4, 6 and 9, respectively. The study found that average CEO compensation in Europe rose 4 percent to 5.8 million euros in 2014, the first increase after two years of declines.

The four best-paid chairmen in the study all worked at Swiss companies, led by Nestle SA’s Peter Brabeck-Letmathe, who got 5.93 million euros, HKP said, adding that’s because in Switzerland the chairman post is a full-time job and includes executive functions, unlike in other countries in Europe where it’s a more supervisory position.

Richemont's top three executives have taken pay cuts this financial year, Chairman Johann Rupert said on May 22. The company, whose full name is Cie. Financiere Richemont SA, has frozen salaries of other employees in Switzerland to deal with this year's surge in the franc.

Nestle reduced Brabeck’s compensation by almost 10 percent last year as he transferred some job responsibilities to CEO Paul Bulcke, according to the company’s annual report.

By Corinne Gretler; editors: Matthew Boyle, Thomas Mulier, Paul Jarvis.

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