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Shaw family members get multi-million-dollar payments

By Rashmi Kumar

Members of the Shaw family, which controls the eponymous media and communications giant, received hefty compensation packages over the last 12 months despite a series of setbacks hitting the family business.

Jim Shaw, who retired as chief executive in November 2010 from Shaw Communications, was paid CAD$26.73 million (€19.8 million) when he stepped down from the helm of the family-run firm.

A proxy circular released by the Canadian company showed that the multi-million-dollar payment was much higher than Jim’s compensation of around CAD$8 million during the 2010 fiscal year ending August.

The document also said Brad Shaw, Jim’s younger brother who succeeded him as chief executive, received a total salary of CAD$15.85 million in 2011. This made Brad the best-compensated CEO in the country, according to a survey of 100 companies by the Calgary Herald, a local Canadian newspaper.

Details of the payments to the Shaw family members, who reportedly have one of the biggest pension packets among Canada’s corporate executives, come amid a number of setbacks faced by the Calgary-based family-controlled company.

While the price of shares of the publicly listed business has fallen by 8.35% over the past three years, a bigger blow was dealt in October this year when analysts at Bank of America downgraded its shares from “buy” to a “neutral” rating.

Executive chairman of Shaw Communications JR Shaw also received a hefty payment of CAD$16 million this year, up from CAD$7.6 million in 2010, said the proxy report.

One of CampdenFB’s top 100 family businesses in North America, the Shaw group had revenues of CAD$4.7 billion in 2011, up from CAD$3.71 billion the year before.

The family members together control 79% of the voting rights at the company.