The UK’s largest housebuilder said he would go “by mutual agreement” on 31 December and be replaced on an interim basis by the group’s managing director David Jenkinson pending the appointment of a permanent successor.
The company’s statement said of Mr Fairburn’s departure: “The board believes that the distraction around his remuneration from the 2012 LTIP (long-term incentive) scheme continues to have a negative impact on the reputation of the business and consequently on Jeff’s ability to continue in his role.”
Mr Fairburn was the highest paid CEO in the financial year ending 2017 when he received £47.1m.
That was more than 20 times his pay in 2015/2016.
The decision to cut him loose risked a further backlash as it emerged that because he had been asked to leave, the firm could not prevent the payment of the payouts due to him under the share option scheme.
Persimmon said Mr Fairburn had agreed to cut his 12-month notice period and would not receive any further salary or benefits after 31 December.
Shares – down 14% in the year to date – were 0.5% lower at the close.
Mr Fairburn – and other executives – first agreed to cut their awards in February after widespread outrage over the sums which critics said were inflated by government housing market stimulus in the form of schemes such as Help to Buy.