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Taking Care of Business: The Politics of Executive Pay in the United Kingdom

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineJournal articlepeer-review

<mark>Journal publication date</mark>1997
<mark>Journal</mark>Contemporary British History
Issue number4
Number of pages20
Pages (from-to)1-20
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English


In the 1990s, the remuneration of executive directors of private corporations became a political issue in the United Kingdom. Although issues of pay equity featured prominently in post‐war British politics, the question of directors’ pay had previously generated no political controversy. In this article, we argue that nine distinct factors account for the politicisation of directors’ pay, together reflecting the transformation of the British political economy that occurred after 1979. However, although the politicisation of executive compensation led to the establishment of the Cadbury and Greenbury Committees ‐ whose recommendations on corporate governance reform were widely adopted by private companies — no substantive reforms to the corporate regime governing executive pay occurred. The tactical exigencies of party politics since the later 1980s contributed to the absence of statutory regulation of executive compensation, and the continuing political dissensus over the issue.