CRH chief executive Albert Manifold's pay package rose to €13.9 million last year, setting a new record for a head of an Iseq company, driven by a share bonus payment tied to an awards policy set three years ago.
Mr Manifold, who has led the building materials giant for more than eight years, received a basic salary of almost €1.61 million and €551,000 of cash benefits, paid in lieu of pension contributions.
These were eclipsed by a €3.07 million annual bonus, comprised of cash and deferred shares, and €8.65 million of stock awards under a long-term incentive plan, based on performance.
The chief executive’s total remuneration represented a 24 per cent hike on his €11.2 million package for 2020, which itself was an Iseq record.
The increase came in a year when CRH’s total sales rose 12 per cent to $31 billion (€28 billion), while earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (ebitda) increased by 16 per cent to a record $5.35 billion – outstripping the company’s own forecast from November by $100 million.
CRH's stock more than doubled in value to €46.52 over the three years to the end of 2021, albeit helped somewhat by a multibillion-euro share buyback programme. The shares have fallen by 19 per cent since then, however, fuelled by concerns over the group's exposure to eastern Europe following Russia's invasion of Ukraine over two weeks ago.
While Mr Manifold, who turns 60 in August, has an employment contract that currently runs until he reaches 62, in 2024, the company's nominations and corporate governance committee, led by group chairman Richie Boucher, is working on chief executive succession planning.
"We have worked with [international executive search firm] Egon Zehnder, which was selected for this purpose following a tender process, on the development of deliverables for the board's consideration in relation to role specification, development plans for potential internal candidates, external candidate pools and the identification of key attributes and traits for a successful transition," said Mr Boucher, a former Bank of Ireland chief executive, in the report.
“Whilst the committee and the board have developed a number of planning scenarios, including emergency arrangements for unexpected events, no decisions have been taken in relation to timing or potential candidates.”
Senan Murphy, who stepped down as finance director last June and is planning to leave the company in the coming months, received total remuneration of €3.49 million, down from €3.99 million in 2020. His successor, Jim Mintern, received €3.05 million.
CRH’s earnings grew and its margins expanded last year even as the global economy grappled with rising input costs.
“While the demand backdrop remains favourable across our markets, there are a number of challenges and uncertainties which we must continue to manage carefully as we look to deliver further value for our shareholders in the year ahead,” the company said as it reported full-year results last week.
CRH's Americas Materials division benefited from increased construction activity in 2021 due to strong residential demand in North America, while the same business in Europe delivered "good volume growth and pricing progress against a prior year comparative which was heavily impacted by pandemic restrictions".
The group’s building products business saw sales grow 11 per cent, with like-for-like sales up 5 per cent, due to strong demand for residential construction and a moderate recovery in the non-residential sector, it said.