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Thursday, Feb 22, 2024

Fujitsu bosses paid £26m during Horizon contract

Over the span of 25 years associated with the controversial Horizon system contract, Fujitsu UK disbursed over £26 million to its top executives, as per BBC account analysis.
During this time, more than £11 million was allocated as severance to departing directors.

The Horizon system, central to a widely reported Post Office scandal, was fraught with technical issues resulting in erroneous accusations against more than 900 sub-postmasters. Initially developed by ICL (eventually renamed Fujitsu in 2002), the system suffered from defects since its launch.

Fujitsu's financial records do not detail the earnings of its UK leaders, but the pay, including all bonuses and incentives, for the most compensated director reached up to £2.5 million under the tenure of UK chief Duncan Tait.

Amidst the Horizon scandal, where sub-postmasters faced legal battles over inaccuracies caused by the system's faults, the significant financial compensation to Fujitsu's executives has ignited criticism from affected individuals and campaigners.

Key executives such as Keith Todd, Richard Christou, David Courtley, Roger Gilbert, and Duncan Tait played roles during the system's implementation and faced the scrutiny of the subsequent inquiry.

Their compensations over the years have come to light, with large severance sums revealed for those who left, such as £4.4 million paid to unnamed directors, likely including Todd, in 2001.

Current chief executive, Paul Patterson, acknowledged the Horizon flaws and expressed a commitment to the compensation fund, deemed a "moral obligation" by Fujitsu.

While director payments have adjusted over time, with Patterson's earnings dropping from £890,000 in 2019 to £408,000 in 2023, the compensation structure remains significant, with Anwen Owen potentially receiving £1.3 million in 2022.

Despite requests for commentary on executive compensation, the individuals and Fujitsu offered no specific remarks, with the company emphasizing its apologies to the wronged sub-postmasters and its dedicated cooperation with the UK government on compensatory actions following the inquiry's conclusions.
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