Last year, Jeff Fairburn became something of a poster child for the perceived excesses of contemporary capitalism. Fairburn had worked for nearly thirty years at the publicly listed UK housebuilder Persimmon, ultimately making his way to the very top of the management heap. But the beginning of the end of his tenure came in late 2017 when the company announced that its chief executive was entitled to a performance-related, share-based bonus of £110 million, triggering intense public criticism.
Less than a year later, Fairburn was gone. He didn’t really help himself. Despite agreeing to a reduction in the bonus to a more modest £75 million and pledging to give some of the money to charity, Fairburn insisted that the original award had been deserved, the result of his working “very hard.”