back to article TalkTalk CEO Dido Harding pockets £2.8m

Dido Harding, the chief exec of beleaguered firm TalkTalk, was handed £2.8m in salary this year, despite the company suffering a catastrophic cyber attack last year. The payout included base salary, shares and cash – the latter being related to performance targets between 2012-2015, the biz said in its annual report today. …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    wait a minute

    "they have appreciated our efforts and our honesty throughout,"

    Not quite true - on more than one occasion, a TalkTalk customer services person told me outright lies, and I didn't appreciate that at all (which is why they keep sending my last November's bill each month, and I keep replying 'where's the callback from a senior, UK-based manager you promised me?')

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: wait a minute

      "they have appreciated our efforts and our honesty throughout,"

      Ha! Ha! Oblate spheroids! Read Tristia Harrison's email sent in March 2015 on spam phone calls. I expect most people skim read it and consigned it to the electronic dustbin. Hidden in middle of this mailing is bit about the first data loss in November 2014 where the criminals got customers data including their TalkTalk Account numbers. Honest spin?

  2. Fonant

    £1.9m long term incentive plan

    Question 1: why does someone on £550k salary need an extra incentive of some millions from a "long term incentive plan"?

    Is it to compensate for the fact that she has no other reason to do a good job, for the sake of the company, its employees and its customers?

  3. chivo243 Silver badge

    Step one: Complete

    Step two: Resign quietly, take a better job elsewhere. Get a nice severance package, big raise at next gig.

    It's a win win win situation.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Poster Child: "it's who you know, not what you know"

      >Step two: Resign quietly, take a better job elsewhere. Get a nice severance package, big raise at next gig.

      Next gig? Her CV reads.... Thomas Cook, Woolworths, Tesco, Talk Talk.....

      ...there's probably a pattern there somewhere, can't quite put my finger on it

      1. Roj Blake

        Re: Poster Child: "it's who you know, not what you know"

        Her CV also reads "mate of David Cameron"

  4. adam payne

    TalkTalk said it is "now implementing an extensive programme of cultural change, including behaviours, values and ways of working".

    Harding said she would donate her £220,000 cash bonus (the rest of the bonus is shares) to charity following the attack.

    She said: "Throughout the cyber attack, we worked hard to put our customers first, and we know that they have appreciated our efforts and our honesty throughout," Harding said on Monday.

    Honesty throughout, where was that then? did I miss that?

    1. Mike Shepherd

      Honesty throughout

      The cliché "You know when (s)he's lying because his/her lips are moving" isn't always an exaggeration: the deeper the hole, the greater the urge to keep digging, so why waste time on truly informatiive words?

      Perhaps, in this case, "honesty" means "Customer data is secure...I mean not secure...I mean...".

      Where are the figures to support " we know that they have appreciated our efforts"? Perhaps it's based on one customer who said "I'm glad you've stopped lying".

      1. FidotheFrightful

        Re: Honesty throughout

        She is a Pork pie seller! "What do you expect" the truth?

    2. Mage Silver badge

      Charity or fleeced Customers?

      It would be better if she gave money back to the customers and let any leave without penalty. PR fluff.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Charity or fleeced Customers?

        No tax advantage for her in giving it back to customers. As a gift-aid donation to charity it's highly tax efficient (for her).

  5. 2+2=5 Silver badge

    Revolting shareholders...

    I don't understand why the shareholders haven't revolted? The supposed reason why CEOs are paid large amounts of money is to make sure they don't piss away even larger amounts that could be going to shareholders in the form of dividends. Yet, here we have a situation where the CEO has pissed away a potential £15m of profit that could have gone to shareholders i.e. my (and your) hard-pressed pension funds, and the shareholders don't seem in the least bit agitated.

    1. Brenda McViking

      Re: Revolting shareholders...

      Because, being in the FTSE250, the vast majority of talktalk shareholders are people like me and you with pension funds that they never look at, never vote at company agms, and generally don't care about so long as it provides a retirement in the future.

      The pension fund managers are incentivised by the firms to go along with the board recommendations, which just mean executive remuneration packages are almost always passed without question - the fund managers simply vote with the board with everyone's shareholdings, made up of millions of smaller shareholders. A few well placed business lunches never seem to harm this arrangement either.

      And nothing ever changes, until a single large shareholder with an agenda comes along, which requires several billions in clout.

      1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

        Re: Revolting shareholders...

        And nothing ever changes, until a single large shareholder with an agenda comes along, which requires several billions in clout.

        And even then it usually only leads to something like share buyback schemes which benefit large fund managers immediately. There have been several attempts in the US to improve governance and curb executive pay but none of them have been successful.

        Even the almighty VW clusterfuck hasn't led to executive bonuses being touched.

      2. Mage Silver badge

        Re: Revolting shareholders...

        "until a single large shareholder with an agenda comes along"

        Who unfortunately is usually a vulture speculator or asset stripper rather than a real investor. See Eircom since privatisation, or Carl Ichan.

    2. Triggerfish

      Re: Revolting shareholders... @2+2=5

      i figured because most of the big boys in that position who turn up at shareholders meetings, may also be in positions like that one day in another company. If they do not push for no confidence etc, then they know when it comes time for their own fuckup everyone will look away as they get awarded a bonus.

      I figure this is also why MP' who are caught have punishments that always seem to be lighter for them than anyone else.

  6. hatti

    I've gone all fluffy

    Harding said she would donate her £220,000 cash bonus (the rest of the bonus is shares) to charity following the attack.

    Awww, what a fluffy, caring company you are, can we get to see the receipt?

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    If she donates the £220k to charity doesn't it rebate on the rest of it meaning that her entire £550k is taxed far less, curious also that the bonus is exactly 40% of her salary (unless of course she gift aid's it but I bet she doesn't), although I'm sure that wasn't deliberate.

  8. Mike Richards Silver badge


    I can only assume Dido's incentive payment is paid by TalkTalk's rivals who must be delighted to keep her where she is.

  9. stolto

    Reward for failure

    This is why so many people are disillusioned with big businesses.

    Remember, this is the same CEO who was interviewed about the catastrophic data leak caused by amateur hackers. And she was talking about nonsense in some sort of Talk Talk control room, with a Windows XP screen behind her and a VHS tape recorder beside...

    The only reason TalkTalk is still in business is that the others are barely better.


    1. Graham Cluley

      Re: Reward for failure

      I'm hardly a fan of Dido Harding and TalkTalk, but I believe the interview where she was infamously pictured in front of a creaky old computer and CRT monitor was filmed in a BBC office not TalkTalk.

      Yes, I know that makes it less fun. Sorry about that.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Whilst a charitable donation of that size is admirable, I wonder if the affected customers might prefer cheaper bills, better customer service, better service, improved security, etc, instead?

    1. Terry Barnes

      £220K wouldn't buy very much of any of those things.

      With about 4 million customers, that works out at about 5.5p each.

      1. Danny 14 Silver badge

        if she took a 25% pay cut they could pay for another 100 staff for a few years. That would make a difference.

      2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        "With about 4 million customers, that works out at about 5.5p each."

        Well, that would still be about a 5p per head increase!

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Cultural change at TalkTalk? No chance.

    For as long as the company is lead by people from marketing and supermarket retail backgrounds and so long as its proposition is price-lead, they will never change. Corners will continue to be cut because the people running the shop don't understand why things like quality and security cost money.

    If they want to achieve real change, they need to replace the board (and its cronyism) and maybe even rebrand. Or just sell up.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Cultural change at TalkTalk? No chance.

      The market decides though, right?

      Their customer numbers are going up, which means that - for their customers at least - cheap is preferable to good. Why would the owners replace a board that is making money for them? Success isn't measured in technical excellence, it's measured in pounds.

      All the time Brits buy services based solely on price that service will mostly be poor.

      There's no competitor that's gone into a deregulated industry in the UK and made a service play. They always make a low price play which then drags the former incumbents into the black hole of declining customer service that results. Higher prices lose you customers faster than poor service, so the logical approach is to cut spending on service to the absolute minimum to stay in business.

      1. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: Cultural change at TalkTalk? No chance.

        "They always make a low price play which then drags the former incumbents into the black hole of declining customer service that results. "

        The incumbent's customer service was already pretty dire.

  12. nsld

    How can it be that she still has a job?

    She has presided over not one, but at least THREE data breaches in less than two years yet she retains her role?

    What the fuck does her bonus plan measure to be so large? I guess its merely synced to her fitbit and as long as she twitches once a day it pays out.

  13. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

    Any word on which charity can expect a £220,000 windfall?

    (My guess is something like 'Tiaras for Tories'. Hypothetically: would it better her karma if the £220,000 went to LOHAN?)

  14. Graham Cluley
    Thumb Up

    Support for Autism

    Good to see autism getting support from TalkTalk.

    After all, it's quite possible that it was someone from that spectrum who did TalkTalk's free penetration test for them in the first place.

    1. Danny 14 Silver badge

      Re: Support for Autism

      One of my assistant techies has Asperger's. One of his traits is thoroughness, he *cannot* be re-tasked once assigned. His reports are very thorough and he usually gets the gigs testing new images, software etc. Not all people on the spectrum are "useless".

  15. CJ_C

    Honesty with customers?

    So I was assured that my detail were not leaked, but I still got phishing calls where the caller seemed to know a surprising amount about my TalkTalk account, but what do I know? I still get calls offering to help fix my Windows PCs and there are none.

    I then get this helpful email (headers clipped,, personal information redacted and the layout has been messed up)

    Important safety information – stay safe from scams

    16 Jun (5 days ago)

    Stay safe from scams


    Beat the scammers

    Hello [My Christian Name]

    Phone and email scams are on the rise. Over 2.5 million UK households received a scam call in the last month, this shows scams can happen to anyone.

    That’s why we have made your security our priority.

    We're the only provider to offer free privacy features, allowing you to block calls from withheld numbers, block the last number that called you, and to see the phone numbers of incoming calls.

    We offer a free reporting service for nuisance and malicious calls.

    We actively review incoming calls to find malicious callers and we block 70 million calls a month.

    But unfortunately we can’t block them all, which is why we’ve launched a national campaign with our partner Get Safe Online. It’s called Beat the Scammers and helps you spot the scammers and stop them in their tracks.

    What you should do to protect yourself:

    Set up your free privacy features – Caller Display, Last Caller Barring and Anonymous Caller Reject – in My Account.

    Trust your instincts. If you suspect a scammer is calling you, hang up, wait a few minutes and call back on an official number.

    Report suspicious calls to us. We have advisors who will investigate the suspicious activity for you and block these numbers for all TalkTalk customers if they are found to be scammers.

    Visit for more information.

    How to spot a scam call

    There are common techniques scammers use to get you to part with your cash and personal information. These range from pretending to be from a trusted company to asking you to stay on the line so your bank can’t call to verify a transaction.


    We will NEVER ASK you for your full password or your bank details to process a refund; ask you to send money through services like MoneyGram or Western Union; nor quote your TalkTalk account number to prove the call is genuine.

    Take a look at our video below to learn more about how to spot scams.

    Tips from our Experts

    Our security help, all in one place

    Knowing how to avoid scams is only part of the fight to stay secure. There’s a wealth of up-to-date information on our Security Hub, including more information on our Beat the Scammers campaign and details of the security products that all TalkTalk customers get for free – HomeSafe® and SuperSafe Boost.

    Find out more

    Keep an eye out for more security updates over the next few months.

    Tristia Harrison

    Managing Director

    TalkTalk Consumer

    Is this email genuine?

    Click here for help and advice on how to stay safe online

    Please do not reply to this email, emails are not monitored.

    TalkTalk Telecom Limited, 11 Evesham Street, London W11 4AR.

    Registered in England & Wales No. 4633015.

    But most of the calls I get (three in the last week?) are about TalkTalk and there is nothing about a further breach of data here. Instead I have to learn of that via the Register. I am a patient person but even I have my my limits...


  16. Captain Badmouth

    The Times this morning

    has a piece by Lady Harding about understanding risks- "something" she says "that requires a level of understanding that most chief executives do not have".

    No shit, sherlock.

    She continues "You've got to be able to speak enough tech. to understand what risks you are taking, and have engineers that speak enough English to describe the consequences of the technology risk".

    Good luck with that if your engineers speak English on a par with your call centre staff.

    She makes it seem all too easy, doesn't she?

  17. TWB

    So pleased I am leaving them

    Oddly when I have chatted on line to their support staff about my T+Cs they have not tried to keep me as a customer but have been open and honest* about whether I am in contract with them and when my service runs to each month. So top marks for them for that.

    Still don't have much confidence with their tech support and can get better (hopefully) and cheaper.

    It'll be quite fun telling them why I am leaving, "...well four reasons, have you got a pen?...."

    *Of course time will tell whether they are honest - I have kept copies of the chats I had if I need them later on.

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