A British CEO is turning heads with his recent decision to give his $3.6 million bonus to be divided among his employees. Lord Wolfson, CEO of Next, the United Kingdom's biggest department store chain, did so in appreciation to his faithful employees.
The bonus, which will be shared, is "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," an email sent to the employees read, according to The Telegraph.
Wolfson earned his bonus through a share-matching program that began three years ago. He decided that it was important to share the wealth with those who helped turn the company around, making it nearly double in worth, which Wolfson said is "more valuable than I could possibly have expected."
"I remain very grateful for the way in which everyone has helped to navigate our business through this recession. The task of growing sales and controlling costs looks set to remain a challenge over the next few years. But if we continue with the hard work, intelligence, initiative, and common sense of recent years, then we have every chance of continued success," Wolfson told The Telegraph.
Wolfson's decision is rather unique; ABC News reported that it could not find an example of another CEO who did the same thing in either the U.K. or the United States. There have been gestures of goodwill, however, but no CEO has directly given his or her bonus to employees.
"It's the first time that any chief executive has ever done anything like this," Alistair Mackinnon-Munson, spokesperson for Next, told ABC. "All our staff of 19,400 will share in it as a cash bonus. It works out to about 1 percent of their basic salary."
People have generally reacted positively to Wolfson's actions, though a few have commented that employees should not need to rely upon their bosses' goodwill for payment. Yet on the whole, those familiar with the story have offered encouragement to Wolfson and others in positions to make a difference.
"Generous man. Keep in mind he is under no obligation to do something like this, but kudos to him for literally spreading the wealth and most likely, increasing employee loyalty. Good on ya, Sir," Gina posted on Yahoo.com.
"So many are not man enough to walk the walk these days," added user BG. "This man is not one of them. He's truly there for his people, and with them. None of us here in American can say the same. May his company continue to enjoy success and prosperity for all."