Share option plan should be global

Coombe said the shares issue split the group, which normally seeks uniformity among members before presenting its views. ‘If the UK went down this route when the US and Europe hadn’t, that would be a disaster,’ he said. Despite US pressure to avoid it, the International Accounting Standards Board has prioritised work on share options.

Coombe, an ASB member, said valuation should be based at the date the options were granted, not vested. ‘I would only accept a grant date and only if the global community followed suit otherwise you lose comparability,’ he said.

Coombe said other group members argued share options were just a way of carving up shareholder interests with no place on the p&l. Others from hi-tech businesses said the move would kill their business.

GlaxoSmithkline FD John Coombe steps down at the group’s agm in November.

Reed Elsevier FD Mark Armour succeeds him.


Read the full interview with John Coombe

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