Vodafone are the latest target in a process that turns former industrial bosses into rentiers, living off their cashed-in share options. As Alex Brummer, the sole voice to lament the destruction of ICI, put it:
“As firms fell like ninepins around them, canny chief executives demanded new clauses in their contracts that guaranteed the equivalent of lottery wins if their firms were taken over. They did this by insisting that their share options — usually paid out only after a number of years — could instantly be converted to cash.”
So arise serial sell-off merchants like Sir Nigel Rudd, knighted for services to industry. And a supine press and political class seemingly cannot even see this process for what it is, let alone try to halt it.