Kingfisher takes off.

It has been a difficult year but one that ended with signs of promise for Philip Rowley, who as finance director of retail giant Kingfisher, is among the country’s highest-paid FDs. With B&Q and Castorama, Kingfisher dominates the European DIY market. Superdrug, Woolworths and entertainment retailer MVC are other parts of the Kingfisher retail empire. But the company received a blow in June when its proposed marriage with supermarket chain ASDA was wrecked by a rival bid from Wal-mart. The company has recovered well. In December it reported sales growth for the three months to October of over 50% from £1.72bn to £2.59bn compared to the corresponding period a year earlier. The City will be watching to see whether that is repeated when Kingfisher issues its latest trading statement next week. Rowley scored a number of notable successes last year. In 1998 in response to Customs withdrawing a particular method of calculating VAT amounts due, Kingfisher created a £45m accrual but the company immediately set about appealing. The appeal proved successful and the accrual was released last year. Rowley and his team also brought Castorama on to the same accounting schedule and was able to book the deal in an innovative way that minimised the goodwill hit to the company. Rowley is well rewarded. A chartered accountant, he enjoyed a package of £515,000 last year despite only joining the company half-way through its financial year. Annualise that – the figure is made up of £190,000 in relocation costs and allowances, £155,000 in basic pay and a bonus of £136,000 – and his annual pay package was about £650,000. He arrived at the company as a director in August 1998 and became group finance director that October, although it is Rowley’s second spell with the company. He joined from Golden Books, the USA’s largest children’s book publisher where he was chief operating officer. He is a former executive chief financial officer of EMI Music Worldwide.

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