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NTL boss clarifies salary

'Poke in the eye'

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Barclay Knapp - the boss of NTL - had to face some flak on Monday after the Times reported that he is to receive a threefold increase in his salary.

Not bad for a man who helped the cableco run-up debts of more than £13bn before seeking the comparative shelter of Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

However, it seems Mr Knapp is not best pleased. In an email to staff yesterday and seen by The Register Mr Knapp played down the story claiming the current deal is less than he was earning before. He also attempts to discredit the report believing it to be an opportunity to "poke ntl in the eye".

Wrote Mr Knapp: "Many of you will have seen the article in The Times on Monday and the follow-up by other papers today.

"First of all, The Times is owned by Rupert Murdoch's News Corp - the same owners as BSkyB - and they take every opportunity to poke ntl in the eye even if they get the facts wrong. In the current anti-business press climate everyone else loves to pile on too," he wrote.

Concerning his pay he explained: "I signed up to lead ntl again for less money than I made previously, not more. My previous pay was approximately $750,000 per year guaranteed. Now it is $700,000. Any additional amount is in the sole discretion of the new board - as it would be in any case. As the paper points out, my total pay was somewhat more than $750,000 for 2001 - and substantially less for 2002.

"I have not received a grant of any share options. Again, this will be in the new board's discretion. All of my existing options in ntl were cancelled, and I never sold a single share," he said.

Earlier this month another internal memo from Mr Knapp revealed that employee morale was on its knees.

No doubt keen to quell any unrest among his troops over reports concerning his remuneration, Mr Knapp added: "There is no question I am well compensated and that I'm getting a second chance, for which I am very grateful. I am also acutely aware that many associates have taken it on the chin during our restructuring, and I hope by and large we have been as fair and compassionate as possible." ®

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