Bumper payouts for senior executives coincides with housebuilder’s plunge into the red

Ian Smith, the former chief executive of Taylor Woodrow, walked away with a payout of more than £2m after last July’s £5bn merger with George Wimpey.

According to figures released by Taylor Wimpey, Smith received a base salary of £610,000 for seven months’ work, as well as £1.45m for lost earnings and other bonuses. He became chief executive of Taywood in January 2007.

Elsewhere, Iain Napier, Smith’s predecessor and a former Taywood director, received £1m. John Landrum, who headed the firm’s North American operation, received £838,000.

The announcement of the multimillion pound payouts comes two weeks after the housebuilder announced a pre-tax loss of £19.5m in 2007, following land writedowns of £283m in America. Turnover fell from £6.72bn to £5.88bn.

The pro-rata salary of chief executive Pete Redfern in 2007 was just over £1m, which included a bonus of £558,000. Following the merger, his basic salary rose from £480,000 to £700,000.

Ian Sutcliffe, the UK chief executive, took home £663,000 pro rata, which included a bonus payment of £450,000. His basic salary increased from £320,000 to £400,000 after the merger.

A Taylor Wimpey spokesperson declined to comment on the figures, but pointed to the group’s 14% growth in pro-forma pre-exceptional profit in the UK. She said: “Rapid progress was made in delivering an integrated Taylor Wimpey, and it remains on course to deliver the target rates set at the time of the merger.”

Kevin Cammack, an analyst at Kaupthing, said: “The pay-offs aren’t especially high. You have to remember that they would have been agreed early last year before they realised that US trading would be so poor. Although, in fairness, Smith was only in his job a few months.”