Next CEO divides multi-million-dollar bonus among employees

Nadine Kalinauskas
Good News

Lord Simon Wolfson, CEO of British clothing and department-store company Next, helped turn around the struggling retailer over the last three years.

Not only is Next now doing well — share prices have nearly doubled — so is he. But instead of keeping his whopping £2.4 million bonus ($3.75 million CAD), he's donating the small fortune to his 19,400 employees.

Next employees who have been with the retailer since June 2010 or before will receive a one-off bonus of 1 per cent of their salary with their July pay. For the average clerk, the bonus would be about $300.

In an email to his staff, Wolfson wrote:

"Three years ago the Next PLC board awarded me an incentive scheme called a Share Matching Plan (SMP). The exceptional gain in our share price has meant that this award has now become more valuable than I could possibly have expected. As I am a shareholder, I have also greatly benefited from the increase in our share price."

He continued, "So this year, instead of accepting this reward, I have asked the Board if they will share it out between all the people who have worked for the company during the three year SMP qualifying period. You, and all employees who have been working at Next since June 2010, will be included."

He described the bonus a "gesture of thanks and appreciation from the company for the hard work and commitment you have given to Next over the past three years and through some very tough times. I remain very grateful for the way in which everyone has helped to navigate our business through this recession."

"Thanks, boss! It's a thoughtful gesture!" one employee tweeted.

"Simon Wolfson has a very good track record with Next and I'm delighted he has decided to make such a generous gesture," Blaby MP Andrew Robathan told This is Leicestershire. "I applaud the fact he recognizes the fact his success relies on other people's hard work."