Who is Lord Wolfson, Next boss who gave away bonus?

It isn't the first charitable act for Tory-supporting CEO married to 'Kate Middleton lookalike'

LAST UPDATED AT 12:36 ON Wed 17 Apr 2013

WHO IS Lord (Simon) Wolfson, the businessman who yesterday waived his £2.4 million bonus, choosing instead to distribute it to his staff?

The publicity-shy 45-year-old became chief executive of Next in 2001 when he was just 33, ten years after joining the company as a sales consultant.

His decision to share the bonus with 19,400 of his employees is not the Conservative peer's first display of generosity. As a member of the Wolfson business dynasty (his father David was once chairman of Next), he is also a trustee of the Charles Wolfson Charitable Trust, a grant-making body set up by his grandfather. The Trust helps fund several charities, including the Meningitis Research Foundation and the National Osteoporosis Society.

In 2012 Wolfson offered a £250,000 prize to the person who could come up with the best plan to handle a country exiting the euro, the BBC notes.

The Tory donor, who was made a peer in July 2010, last year married Eleanor Shawcross, an aide to George Osborne described by the Daily Mail as a "Kate Middleton look-a-like".

The couple won't go hungry, despite Wolfson's decision to sacrifice his bonus. The Daily Telegraph notes that his pay package without it is £4.6 million. The £2.4 million will be shared by Next employees who have been with the company since 2010. They will receive a payout equal to 1 per cent of their salary, meaning a shopfloor worker earning £20,000 a year will collect £200.

Wolfson, whose generosity could put pressure on other chief executives, told his staff the bonus 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". · 

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