TalkTalk – A Postscript to the Data Breach

There was an interesting postscript today to the story of the data breach at TalkTalk last October.  You will recall that the at first it was feared that personal details of all 4 million of the company’s customers could have been compromised, although the breach ultimately turned out to be much less serious.  The company was criticised at the time for being slow to communicate with customers in the early stages of the incident; and subsequently criticised by a Parliamentary investigation for a lack of preparation.

Understandably, the news that the CEO of TalkTalk, Dido Harding, received £2.8m last year has provoked some comment!  Much of the coverage has focused on the headline figure which is somewhat misleading as much of the total relates to a long-term incentive plan.  Perhaps the more interesting point is the statement from the company in respect of the £220 000 cash component of the award “In the context of the cyber-attack on TalkTalk and after careful consideration, the remuneration committee has exercised discretion and determined that the annual bonus should be at a reduced level.”  For me this does beg the question – what would you have to do to receive no bonus?  Whilst the announcement that Baroness Harding is donating the money to charity is a gracious gesture, why should the shareholders of the company be funding this donation when they have seen the value of their company fall so sharply.

This will not be the final word on the story though, as we are still waiting for the Information Commissioner’s Office to publish their report.