Telewest slips up over exec 'pay freeze'

More fat-cattery or a genuine error?

More fat-cattery or a genuine error?

Telewest - and in particular its 70-year-old chairman - have been accused of misleading shareholders over levels of executive pay. At the cable TV and broadband company's annual general meeting (AGM) last week, chairman Cob Stenham told assembled investors that company directors had seen their pay frozen. However, finance director Charles Burdick saw his pay packet swell £40,000 this year to £400,000. The Sunday Times yesterday reported Stenham as saying: "I was on my feet for about two hours. If you're having questions hurled at you over that period of time, you're only human and you make the odd error." The paper pointed out FD Burdick, on the stage with Stenham, chose not to correct the chairman, nor did other members of the company's remuneration commission. Meanwhile, this morning's Daily Telegraphcalled the affair a "humiliating climb-down" and speculated the gaffe is likely to fuel shareholder anger. The company has seen its share price plummet to 4p from a 52-week high of 111.25p and an offer by existing stakeholder Liberty Media Group is likely to see some kind of debt for equity swap.