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WH Smith boss sees pay deal jump 78% to £2.9 million as rebound continues

WH Smith’s boss has seen his pay surge by 78% over the past year after the retailer continued its travel-boosted resurgence (PA)
WH Smith’s boss has seen his pay surge by 78% over the past year after the retailer continued its travel-boosted resurgence (PA)

WH Smith’s boss has seen his pay surge by 78% over the past year after the retailer continued its travel-boosted resurgence.

Carl Cowling, chief executive since 2019, received a total pay deal worth £2.91 million for the year to August 31, according to the firm’s latest annual report.

That compares to a £1.63 million pay deal a year earlier.

Around four-fifths of the larger pay deal was linked to performance-based bonuses after the company saw sales and profits jump.

InMotion shop
WH Smith also owns the InMotion brand of tech retail shops (WH Smith/PA)

Mr Cowling got £2.25 million as a result – £998,000 of annual bonus and £1.25 million through the retailer’s long-term bonus scheme.

The boss did not get any money through the long-term incentive scheme the previous year.

He also got £610,000 through his fixed salary, as well as £15,000 in annual benefits and £37,000 of pension.

The jump in total pay comes after WH Smith saw its profits almost double as it benefitted from more travellers at airports and railway stations.

WH Smith reported a headline pre-tax profit of £143 million in the year to August 31, compared with £73 million a year earlier.

Group revenues for the year rose by 28% to £1.79 billion as it was supported by a 36% increase in revenues through its UK travel business.

The firm also benefited from its continued expansion, opening more travel sites under the WH Smith and InMotion brands.