Pearson hit by shareholder rebellion over new chief’s share deal

However it acknowledged that “a significant minority” of investors had voted against the “highly competitive remuneration package”.

Mr Bird – who was born in Warrington and began his working life answering phones for British radio DJ Timmy Mallett, before helping launch the career of Chris Evans – will get $9.3m of shares after buying $3.75m of stock with his own money. He will be paid a maximum of $7.7m a year.

A media veteran who ran the international arm of Walt Disney, overseeing its transformation into a “digital-first” brand, Mr Bird has no direct experience in education.

However, he has been on Pearson’s board since May and helped develop Disney’s direct-to-consumer strategy. He will try to steer the firm through the fallout from the Covid-19 pandemic from his LA base almost 5,500 miles from London.

Pearson has suffered a tumultuous four years as the publishing industry has been battered by the rise of online rivals.

Mr Bird will replace John Fallon who cut thousands of jobs, disposed of assets and issued a string of profit warnings in recent years.

Notably under Mr Fallon, Pearson sold off Penguin Random House, the Financial Times and a stake in The Economist.

Shares fell 0.2pc to 503.8p in afternoon trading. 

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