Despite the cost of living crisis being a major concern for the majority, Flutter CEO Peter Jackson will have no such worries after scoring a mammoth 26% pay rise from the firm.
It will mean that the man overseeing the fortunes of the likes of Sky Gaming, PokerStars and Tombola will be paid seven figures – £1.18 million, to be precise – for his services. Close colleague Jonathan Hill, Flutter’s CFO, has bagged a 20% increase to ensure he nets just over £700,000 per annum.
The percentage rises are extraordinary, particularly when compared to the bog standard increases offered to support staff, and a number of shareholders – thought to equal around 32% of investors – were against the move.
One such group, the 1000-strong Trinity Student Managed Fund, told the company’s board meeting that they opposed such a mammoth pay rise being paid when the funds could be used to finance funds on problem gambling and social responsibility.
Olwyn Patterson, the group’s spokesperson, has hit out at Flutter’s ‘PlayWell’ responsible gaming campaign.
“Flutter claims that its new PlayWell Strategy will help customers play well, however after analysing the action Flutter has taken to implement this, we are not happy with the half-attempted efforts Flutter has made.”
Meanwhile, a pair of advisory groups that assist investors in their decision-making votes have told their members to oppose the pay rises. Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS) claimed the new rates were ‘not justified’ amid falling share prices.
And Glass Lewis also advised shareholders to vote against the new salary detail – again pointing at Flutter’s ailing share value as the main reason why. They reported that they view ‘….high fixed pay raises with scepticism, as such remuneration is not directly linked to performance and may serve as a crutch when performance has fallen below expectations.’
The American Dream
Jackson has defended Flutter’s stance on problem gambling, while Gary McCann – the firm’s chairman of the board, who ratified the increase, has claimed that the pay increases were offered following ‘extensive consultation’ with key institutional investors.
“We have to put a package in place that actually is attractive to retain Peter and Jonathan and, in the event they ever leave, to recruit that quality,” McCann said.
“This is an incredibly competitive sector. The consumer digital sector is the most competitive sector probably in the world right now.”
McCann also noted that executives in similar roles in the United States get paid considerably more, and that was a market that Flutter intends to commandeer in 2022 and beyond.
The company continues to expand in the US thanks to a series of mergers and acquisitions, and Jackson revealed that ‘continuing to win in America’ is Flutter’s primary focus.
“That’s where we’ve got to keep our focus, he said.
“The opportunity there is enormous.”
The firm has just signed a new partnership deal with the New York Yankees, ensuring the presence of their FanDuel brand at the franchise’s iconic Yankees Stadium, while consolidating their position in the increasingly-competitive gambling sector in the state.