Crown Estate triples CEO pay in three years to nearly £1.6m

King Charles’ property manager has tripled his chief executive’s salary in three years despite a mandate to return the proceeds to the Treasury “for the benefit of the nation.”

The Crown Estate, a longstanding portfolio of land and property in England and Wales, paid Dan Labbad almost £1.6m last year, two-thirds more than the previous year, when he took home a payday of £945,000.

The chief executive’s last payday was three times his full-year equivalent salary of £517,000 for 2019 when he took over, and nearly £1m more than what his predecessor, Alison Nimmo, was paid in her final year. commanding.

The increase puts Labbad’s salary well above the remuneration normally awarded to those who manage taxpayer funds, and in line with his salary in his previous role as CEO of Lendlease, a multinational real estate and construction company. for profit.

Labbad has presided over a major rise in revenue as the seabed crown property around the British Isles has become a big moneymaker. In a series of auctions, the crown estate has raised billions from electricity operators who want to lease sections of the ocean floor for offshore wind farms.

The property manager revealed last month that the auctions helped generate record profits of nearly £500m, while the value of his portfolio has doubled to nearly £16bn over the past decade.

The crown estate has pledged to use the proceeds from its vast portfolio, which includes more than 200 sites in central London, as well as historic parks and waterfronts, for “the benefit of the nation, its finances and its future”. .

Molly Scott Cato, finance and economics spokesperson for the Green Party of England and Wales, called the pay rise “a disgrace” and called for “wide-ranging reform” of the crown estate to make sure its revenues benefit the country. .

“Managing the crown estate is a public service and one would expect to see CEO pay reflect that. At a time when so many are struggling with the cost of living crisis, it is a shame that his salary has increased by nearly two-thirds this year alone and that he is now being paid three times what his predecessor was paid for the same work.”

“Large-scale crown estate reform is long overdue to ensure our national resources are managed with a focus on long-term sustainability and that such egregious remuneration at the expense of such egregious remuneration is ended once and for all. the public,” he added.

The wallet belongs to the reigning monarch “by right of the crown”, but is not the private property of the king. Under current rules, the crown estate hands over its profits to the Treasury before 25% is returned to the royal house in the form of a sovereign grant.

Recent accounts from the crown estate said it had hired advisers to review its remuneration approach after the “significant transformation” of the business in recent years due to the rise of offshore wind power on its seabed.

It said the review had concluded that its payment policy was “neither realistic nor appropriate” given the scale and business context in which it now operates. But he added that he had a responsibility to recruit “a world-class leader” who recognized that “some form of pay discount” was “appropriate to lead an organization that serves the nation.”

A crown estate spokesman said it had undergone a “significant transformation”, growing in scale and complexity, and was competing with the private sector. “We went through a rigorous process, including working with independent advisors, to develop a new remuneration package at a significant discount to relevant benchmarks, as set out in our annual report. This will ensure that we can attract and retain a world-class CEO to help meet our legal obligations to deliver value to the nation, its finances and its future.”

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