Carey accepts settlement for age discrimination claim but loses out on potential £10m share options profit

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Former Berkeley Group director Tony Carey’s £5m unfair dismissal settlement last week came as he missed out on almost £10m of potential profit from share options.

Berkeley Group announced last week that it had settled Carey’s claim for age discrimination and unfair dismissal for £5m shortly before the start of a three-week employment tribunal hearing.

However, according to Berkeley’s most recent accounts, Carey had held 1,388,390 share options at the point of his departure, most of which enabled him to buy shares for just £3. At Berkeley’s current £12 share price, Carey would have been in line to make £9.8m in clear profit.

The settlement followed Carey’s sudden departure from the firm in September 2010 following 17 years as the most trusted lieutenant of group chairman Tony Pidgley, a role in which Carey built up the firm’s St George brand.

Speaking after the settlement, Pidgley said Carey’s dismissal had been to do with “succession strategy”. He said: “At the end of the day, Tony Carey did a good job. It [his departure] was nothing to do with St George and the way he ran the company. It was to do with the strategy going forward and with succession - it’s as simple as that.”

He did not support the strategy or the succession policy.

“We needed to look at succession, it’s the same debate as me. I love my job but it is incumbent on me to deal with succession and that is why Rob Perrins was brought forward.”

Carey was unavailable for comment.