Jim Mason is nearing 70 years old, and although his wife says he should slow down, every year the business seems to get more complex. Valex’s team of directors includes: • Robert Krieger, Sales & Commercial Director (joined 1996) • Sandra Reeves, Finance Director (joined 1999 as financial controller) • Jeremy Swann, Production & Research Director (joined 2001) • Lee Goode, Quality Director (joined 2013, in charge of laboratory) The shares are owned by Jim, his wife and the current board of directors as follows: Jim and Robert work well together, but have different views on the future direction of the company. Robert wants to expand the business by broadening the product range to include more lifestyle nutrition products and taking on more supermarket contracts, but Jim is concerned about taking on too much risk. Jeremy trained as an industrial chemist and was originally in charge of Research and Development. He tries to oversee production, but it is not his strongest area. He would prefer to go back to product development full-time, with someone more experienced in manufacturing processes to be recruited to take on the production director role. Sandra has progressed through the company to her current position. She is a quiet lady with Jim’s best interests at heart, but she often struggles to see the business picture beyond the numbers. Historically Valex has paid large dividends to its shareholders and this money has enabled Jim to create a luxury lifestyle for his extended family which he is reluctant to give up. In 2012, under pressure to offer Sandra and Jeremy larger shareholdings to bring them more in line with Robert, Jim agreed major increases in directors’ basic pay and generous bonus schemes based on sales growth which he hoped would “balance things out”. This explains the jump in directors’ remuneration from £482,000 in 2011 to £1.125m in 2012.
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