Bill BermanBill Berman


Pendragon boss Bill Berman in line for £5m payday if a deal goes through

  • Pendragon boss – who has led firm for 3.5 years – in line for £5m payday
  • If a deal goes through for at least 32p per share for the group, executives will cash in
  • Share holdings of Pendragon’s senior executives revealed today in stock market filing

Time 4:35 pm, September 28, 2023

Pendragon CEO Bill Berman is set to personally bank nearly £5m from the sale of the dealer group, according to new filings.

In a London Stock Exchange announcement today, the firm said the American boss of Pendragon will have around 15.4m shares to cash in.

If a deal goes through at 32p per share – as looks highly likely – Berman will make £4.92m.

Berman took charge of the dealer group in February 2020, just a few weeks before the coronavirus pandemic.

Between 2020 and 2022, Berman received circa £3.57m in basic salary and bonuses. His on target earnings for 2023 are £1.5m.

This would bring his total earnings in basic pay, bonuses and share awards, assuming a deal goes through, to just under £10m since he took over as CEO.

The group came under fire in the aftermath of the outbreak after it made 1,800 staff redundant and then decided not to repay any furlough cash or government grants after bumper years of trading.

Pendragon is currently at the centre of a bidding war between three parties. Lithia Motors has offered £250m to buy the group’s dealerships and leasing businesses. Its deal, which is worth 27.4p, goes to a vote next Friday.

However, analysts do not think it will go through especially as there are two other unsolicited offers on the table.

Hedin has teamed up with American giants Penske, the owners of Sytner, to offer 32p per share. Its deal is subject to due diligence and external financing.

And then this week, AutoNation, another American dealer group, also offered 32p per share in cash for the business.

The story so far:

Whichever deal goes through, it looks likely it will be for at least 32p a share, leading to bumper pay days for the current executive team.

Martin Casha, COO, who has recently been appointed as the new boss of Marshall Motor Group, holds 16.6m shares. 

His pay out from the deal will be in the region of £5.3m. Casha has been with Pendragon since 1995 and at this year’s AGM some 40% of shareholders voted against his reappointment.  

Finance chief Mark Willis will get around £2.6m for his shares if a deal goes through while senior independent director Dietmar Exler will get around £67k and non executive director Brian Small around £128k.

The remuneration of Pendragon directors has been the subject of fierce criticism in recent years with a number of shareholder revolts over pay registered at AGM votes.

One of those fiercest of critics has been 26 per cent Pendragon shareholder and now suitor to buy the business, Anders Hedin, of Hedin Mobility. He has previously described the executives’ pay as ‘unacceptable’.

Pendragon declined to comment.

James Baggott's avatar

James is the founder and editor-in-chief of Car Dealer Magazine, and CEO of parent company Baize Group. James has been a motoring journalist for more than 20 years writing about cars and the car industry.

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