The boss of the Financial Times will hand back a pay rise of more than £500,000 after some of the newspaper’s journalists complained about his pay.
Explaining his decision, John Ridding said the rise had “created concerns”.
This month, Steve Bird, of the paper’s National Union of Journalists chapel, wrote to FT staff saying Mr Ridding’s £2.6m pay was absurdly high.
And the NUJ urged him to go further and increase pay for all staff, claiming reporters’ pay had been “squeezed”.
In an email to staff, Mr Ridding said his salary was set by the FT’s Japanese owners Nikkei, and was independently assessed and “highly performance-related”.
However, he added: “While our performance has been strong, I recognise that the size of the consequent jump in my own total reward in 2017 feels anomalous and has created concerns.
“For now, I have decided to reinvest into the FT the increase awarded in 2017, which is £510,000 before tax.”
He said “the first call” on the money would be a women’s development fund to boost the FT’s efforts to promote women to more senior roles and reduce the gender pay gap.
“The balance of funds will be used to help meet the company’s overall financial objectives,” he added.
The NUJ welcomed his decision, but called on Mr Ridding to award “above-inflation pay increases” to staff both inside and outside editorial.
It also said he should forego his bonus this year and called on the board to reveal how much every director is paid.
“We believe the company should respond to the widespread anger among staff as a matter of urgency,” it said.
“If we do not receive a timely response to all of our demands, we instruct chapel reps to place this matter into dispute and take such steps as may be necessary, up to and including balloting for industrial action.”
Nikkei, which bought the FT from Pearson for $1.3bn (£1.02bn) in 2016, said it was very satisfied with the growth of the newspaper under Mr Ridding.
“We respect and support his proposal to adjust his remuneration to refocus attention on the FT’s mission,” Nikkei said.
The FT chief was paid about £1.6m in the year before the sale to Nikkei.
Mr Ridding’s decision comes after UK chief executives’ pay rose by 11% last year.
A Chartered Institute of Personnel Development survey found that median pay for bosses of the UK’s biggest companies hit almost £4m last year – up from about £3.5m in 2016.