Grocery boss got hefty pay

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At a time when government and consumer officials are sharply criticizing the power and profits of Norway’s four major grocery retailers, comes news that the recently retired boss of one of them received relatively whopping pay over the past three years.

Newspaper Dagens Næringsliv (DN) reported this week that Sverre Leiro of NorgesGruppen, which operates major grocery chains like Meny and Kiwi, was paid NOK 40 million ( around USD 6.5 million) in the form of salary, bonus and other benefits since 2008. That’s high in Norway, where it’s not popular for executives to earn so much more than average employees. In addition came the dividends Leiro earned on his stock in the company that controls more than 40 percent of Norway’s grocery market and has been a target of the recent criticism.

Leiro stepped down on April 1 at the age of 63, three years after he had initially planned to retire. NorgesGruppen, however, wanted him to stay on, so the high pay is viewed as an extraordinary incentive for his three extra years of service.

Other NorgesGruppen executives also earned well, according to the firm’s annual report, with five of them collectively netting more than NOK 100 million during the same period. New chief executive Tommy Korneliussen told DN he could understand “that folks react” to the “large sums.” But he claimed NorgesGruppen is “a large company, and salaries are in line with the market.” He also thought it was misleading to add up the pay over a three-year period. He earned around NOK 14 million during the period before he rose to the top spot.

Views and News staff