Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

New City Boss: I'm Capping My Pay and Giving All Staff the Chance to Share in Our Profits

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

New City Boss: I'm Capping My Pay and Giving All Staff the Chance to Share in Our Profits

Article excerpt

Byline: Martin Bentham Home Affairs Editor

THE first female boss of a major City accountancy firm today announced a John Lewis-style profit share scheme that could boost salaries by 25 per cent as she called for a business revolution to bring back "trust and integrity".

Sacha Romanovitch, 46, also revealed she is capping her own salary as she looks forward to taking over as chief executive at Grant Thornton next month. Her pay will be limited to a maximum of 20 times the average salary in her firm. That is a fraction of the 149 times average ratio across FTSE 100 firms and will lower her pay to below PS1 million a year.

The introduction of the "sharedenterprise" system, modelled on that operated at John Lewis, will allow future profits to be shared between all of its 4,500 staff instead of being restricted to the most senior.

Ms Romanovitch said: "The benchmark that we are working to is that in great organisations that do this, it ends up being between 10 and 25 per cent of a person's salary. That is what they can potentially earn as a profit share. John Lewis does it, Arup [the engineering firm] is the other one that does it really well."

Ms Romanovitch emphasised that all staff, including the 187 partners, would retain their existing pay deals. The profit share will come from extra money generated by collaborative working. The aim is to double the firm's total profits by 2020. Her forwardthinking plans also include "crowdsourcing" new business ideas and potentially allowing lower-ranked staff to join board meetings. On the decision to cap her own pay, she said that earning more than 20 times the average pay of her staff "didn't feel right" and that restricting her earnings was in line with the philosophy she wanted to instil in her firm.

Ms Romanovitch is also keen to encourage gender, social and other forms of diversity. She said a revolution in the way business is carried out in London was needed to restore "trust and integrity" and ensure the capital continued to thrive as a world economic powerhouse.

She warned that the City will be held back unless tradition is cast aside and insists that social media, working from home, meetings in cafes or outdoors rather than in boardrooms, and "breaking cover" should all be accepted. …

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