CEO at UK Retailer, Next, Doles Out Bonus to Front-Line Employees

The Telegraph of London has reported that Lord Wolfson, CEO of the UK’s biggest department store chain, Next, has shared his $3.6 million bonus with full and part-time employees at the retail chain.

Apparently Lord Wolfson wrote an email to the staff stating that he intended the act as a “gesture of thanks and appreciation from the company for the hard work and commitment you have given to Next over the past three years and through some very tough times.” Screen shot 2013-04-24 at 12.00.35 PM

“The task of growing sales and controlling costs looks set to remain a challenge over the next few years,” he continued. “But if we continue with the hard work, intelligence, initiative and common sense of recent years, then we have every chance of continued success.”

You may recall a similar act of generosity by Yang Yuanqing, CEO of Lenovo, who shared his $3 million bonus with 10,000 employees. Whole Foods founder John Mackey gave his $380,000 bonus to charity.

According to a spokesperson for Next who spoke to ABC News, the staff of 19,400 employees are set to share the cash bonus in July. The same workers also received a two percent pay increase from the company in 2012, while Lord Wolfson saw his pay increase 13 percent last year, said The Guardian.

The Guardian also reported that “top bosses” at Next made 185 times the average salary of workers at the chain last year and that in years past, execs have seen double-digit increases while the rank and file had wages frozen.

So retailers out there – what do you think? Was Lord Wolfson’s act a symbol of benevolent giving, or one of burdensome guilt?