Belfast Telegraph

Dido Harding earned £1.1m pay and bonuses in final year at TalkTalk

Telecoms giant TalkTalk has revealed former boss Dido Harding earned £1.1 million in annual pay and bonuses, weeks after warning over profits.

The group's annual report shows Ms Harding, who stepped down on April 1, was handed a 9% pay rise to £600,000 last July, while she was also awarded a £235,000 annual bonus and £244,000 in shares from a long-term incentive plan.

Details of her bumper final year's pay come after TalkTalk shares were rocked last month - falling 8% in one day - after it posted a lower-than-expected rise in annual profits and warned over the next year's results.

The group slashed investor dividend payouts and flagged that full-year earnings in 2017/18 would come in up to 11% lower, as it embarks on an investment drive to attract more customers.

Results also showed annual earnings for 2016/17 fell short of expectations despite growing by 17% to £304 million.

The group is still recovering after a cyber attack in 2015 saw the personal data of nearly 160,000 people accessed by hackers.

It led to tens of thousands of customers deserting the firm and cost it £ 60 million.

Ms Harding decided last year to donate her annual bonus to charity after the attack, although it is understood she opted to retain the 2016/17 bonus.

All executive directors received annual bonuses for the year to March 31, while most were also awarded long-term incentive scheme shares payouts.

In its annual report, the group's remuneration committee said directors had volunteered a discount of around 30% on their annual bonuses after "reflecting on the wider business performance for the year and the continuing focus required to return the business to growth".

Ms Harding's pay package caused controversy last year after it nearly tripled to £2.8 million despite her presiding over the hacking scandal.

Her 2016/17 pay package dropped due to a sharply lower long-term incentive scheme payout.

Ms Harding has been replaced by Tristia Harrison as chief executive in a shake-up that has seen Sir Charles Dunstone step up from chairman to executive chairman.

The annual report showed Ms Harrison's salary has been set at £500,000 in the role, while Sir Charles's pay remains the same, at £ 360,000.