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Andium row: Boleat brought back

Andium row: Boleat brought back

Friday 25 October 2019

Andium row: Boleat brought back


The former Chairman of both the competition regulator, and the Government's development company, has temporarily been handed the reins of the island's social housing provider, amid continuing rancour over executive pay.

At the beginning of next month, Sir Mark Boleat will take over as the Chairman of Andium Homes, from the former Chief Minister Frank Walker who is to stand down.

Andium has also lost its Vice-Chair, Heather Bestwick, following a four-year pay dispute with the Government.

Andium is at the centre of a major row over executive pay, which was kicked off when a resignation letter penned by its former Finance Director and Chief Operating Officer, John Hamon, was leaked to the media - just days before a deeply critical report on pay and bonuses at the social housing provider was published by the Comptroller and Auditor General. 

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Pictured: Andium CEO, Ian Gallichan. (Andium)

Karen McConnell's report set out a detailed case study of how the increasing remuneration of Andium's CEO Ian Gallichan, and Mr Hamon, was handled by the board.

Their pay packets went up very significantly in fewer than five years, apparently without the explicit prior approval of the Government as sole shareholder, which was the agreed procedure.

Ms McConnell carefully laid out the series of deep disputes between Andium and the Treasury over the last four years, culminating in the Treasury demanding what they saw as excessive and unauthorised pay increases to be paid back, and bonuses to be refunded.

In the States this week, Chief Minister John Le Fondré was forced to respond to repeated questioning on the Andium row, all prompted by last week's leak to the media.

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Pictured: The Chief Minister faced a barrage of questions over Andium in the States Assembly this week.

Speaking about the nature of the dispute between Government and Andium, he explained: “...It relates to the high increases in the remuneration of executive directors since incorporation, which has seen the total pay and bonuses of the CEO of Andium go up more than 75% since 2014 when the company was incorporated.

“We are in dispute with the board – we do not believe that the level of remuneration and the most recent increase of 26%, with a 10% bonus, are appropriate or justifiable.”

He also told his fellow States Members during the States meeting that he believed both executives were still on final salary pension schemes. 

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Pictured: Heather Bestwick, who stepped down from the Andium Board this week. 

His comments were then followed by the resignation of Andium's Vice-Chair, Heather Bestwick, a former Technical Director, and Deputy CEO of Jersey Finance, who said she wouldn't stand for her reputation being "impugned".

Now, the Government has announced that Sir Mark Boleat is to take over at Andium, for a "maximum" period of 12 months, on a salary of up to £40,000. His "priorities" will be to recruit his replacement, and other board members, and to ensure "good governance".

Chief Minister, Senator John Le Fondré, said of the appointment: “I am pleased that Sir Mark will be bringing his extensive property and board experience to Andium. He has an impressive reputation and will provide a steadying influence in the Board, following months of dispute with the Government over executive pay.”

Sir Mark has extensive experience in housing finance, as well as being Chairman of a number of charities, including two housing associations. Locally he chaired the JCRA and the SoJDC, as well as working on consultancy projects for the government  on population policy, housing policy and consumer policy. He has published a number of papers on Jersey including “History of the Jersey Population” ‘The Causes of Jersey’s Economic Prosperity” and “Brexit and Jersey."

CLICK HERE for the full time timeline of the Andium dispute. 

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