The eye-watering £75m bonus for Persimmon boss Jeff Fairburn has been widely reported. The story first broke in late December 2017 when his bonus was cut from £110m following an outcry from shareholders.
So it shouldn't have been a surprise when BBC Look North asked him 10 months later whether the business had learnt any lessons following the much criticised payout.
Yet, as the clip of the report shows, it appears to have caught Fairburn on the hop. His press officer can be heard interrupting off-camera and the well-paid CEO walks away. The interview couldn't have gone any worse. And to rub salt into the wound, it will be a clip media trainers will dine out on for many years to come.
I am sure the press officer will have meticulously prepared his or her boss for the interview, perhaps telling the reporter that the £75m payout was not to be discussed.
But, whatever the advice and coaching it clearly didn't work. Yet it could have been so easily avoided.
Of course the question was going to arise. It is likely to arise again in December this year and next. As much as Persimmon might want it to go away, it won't and cannot be avoided. And now it will be the only question he will be asked.
So how to respond> Acknowledge the question, give a short and simple answer, and move on. Either that, or don't do interviews.
The Persimmon CEO, Jeff Fairburn, walked off camera during a BBC interview after being asked about his £75m bonus. At the time the bonus, reduced from £110m after a shareholder revolt, was thought to be the biggest ever awarded at a listed company. When asked by Spencer Stokes for BBC Look North whether there were any lessons to be learned from the furore surrounding the bonus, Fairburn said it was 'unfortunate' he had been asked about the payout before walking away