Somers gets €5.75m pay day from sale of Irish Stock Exchange

Purchase by Euronext triggered windfall for key personnel including former chief executive

Deirdre Somers, who moved on from the Irish Stock Exchange “to begin the next chapter of my business career”, officially left the company last week. Photograph: Patrick Bolger/Bloomberg

Deirdre Somers, who moved on from the Irish Stock Exchange “to begin the next chapter of my business career”, officially left the company last week. Photograph: Patrick Bolger/Bloomberg

 

Deirdre Somers, the Irish Stock Exchange’s (ISE) recently-departed chief executive, had a €5.75 million pay day last year, driven by a cash windfall and bonuses tied to the group’s sale to Euronext.

The deal, struck late last year, triggered a cash payment of €8.83 million under a so-called share appreciation rights scheme for “key management personnel”, including Ms Somers, director of strategy Aileen O’Donoghue, former director of traded markets Brian Healy and director of international primary markets Gerard Scully.

It also led to an additional €4.66 million of bonuses and other compensation for senior staff, according to newly-filed accounts with the Companies Registration Office.

The ISE accounted for the total of €13.5 million of awards in its 2017 results, even though they were not due to be paid out until Euronext, the pan-European bourse operator, completed its €158.8 million purchase of the company last March.

The charge served to push the ISE, which now trades under the name Euronext Dublin, into an operating loss of €4.6 million loss last year from a €9.2 million profit for 2016 as group revenue grew by 10 per cent to €32.1 million.

Topped up

Ms Somers, who became chief executive of the ISE in 2007 and led last year’s takeover talks, earned €544,000 in basic salary last year. This was topped up by a €2.74 million payment under the share appreciation rights plan, €2.44 million of bonuses and other compensation, and a €30,000 pension contribution.

Ms Somers, who signalled in June that she was leaving the ISE “to begin the next chapter of my business career”, officially left the company last week.

ISE former chief regulatory officer Daryl Byrne has succeeded Ms Somers and, in doing so, has also become Euronext’s head of debt and funds listings and exchange-traded funds (ETFs). Mr Healy quit the company in June.

The sale of the ISE delivered a windfall for the company’s owners, Davy, Goodbody Stockbrokers, Investec, Cantor Fitzgerald and Campbell O’Connor.

The bourse operator’s latest set of accounts shows that the shareholders also received a €5 million dividend last year. The ISE saw a clear-out earlier this year of directors that had represented the former owners.

Euronext has said it planned to extract €6 million of cost savings from the ISE deal by 2020, mainly through the optimisation of information technology systems.

New positions

Euronext’s chief executive, Stephane Boujnah, signalled to reporters last November that some of the Irish company’s roles may move elsewhere in the group over time, though it may also benefit from the creation of new positions under its remit as hub for debt and fund listings. Staff numbers grew last year to 128 from 121.

The ISE report said: “The Euronext transaction should be seen in the context of our response to both the opportunities and risks presented by Brexit – further strengthening our capability to realise the opportunities and best positioning the ISE’s mitigation of the risks.”

The report also highlights that the company’s planned redeveloped headquarters on Anglesea Street in Dublin 2, which is being expanded into a property on Foster Place, will be completed and ready for occupation during the second quarter of next year.