Bet365 Founder Denise Coates Gets Flak for $648 Million 2020 Pay Packet

Posted on: April 1, 2021, 02:53h. 

Last updated on: April 1, 2021, 04:15h.

Bet365 founder and joint-CEO Denise Coates is no longer just the UK’s highest-paid woman, or even its highest-paid executive, as she was in 2019, 2018, and 2017.

Denise Coates
Denise Coates, seen in a headshot here, is a 53-year-old mother of five who has raked in almost $1.3 billion in the past four years. (Image: Stoke Sentinel)

The news that in 2020 she received a nosebleed-inducing £469 million ($648 million) makes her the most handsomely compensated person in British corporate history. It is possible she was also the highest-paid executive in the world last year.

According to annual Bet365 accounts released on Wednesday, publicity-shy Coates took home £421 million ($582 million) in 2020 salary, shattering the previous year’s also-record-breaking salary of £277 million ($383 million).

But because she also owns 50.1 percent of the company, she was entitled to a further £48 million ($66 million) in dividends.

Based on an average working week (in the UK) of 38 hours, Coates earned around £237,348 ($328,276) per hour. That’s £3,955 ($5,470) per minute.

For further perspective, her pay packet was higher than all FTSE 100 Index CEOs combined.

Over the past four years, the 53-year-old mother of five has raked in almost $1.3 billion. She is the UK’s fifth-richest woman. The Queen is number 66, just after Victoria Beckham.

Coates’ ‘Unspendable’ Income

Critics say Coates’ wages are obscene, amounting to more than any individual can spend in their lifetime. But unlike some members of the super-rich, she’s prepared to face the taxman.

The Coates family is the UK’s biggest taxpayer, contributing over £500 million ($691 million) in 2019 in income and corporation tax.

Intriguingly, the family has long been a donor to the Labour Party. In the last election, the party advocated taxing the rich, curtailing the power of billionaires, and imposing tighter controls on the gambling industry.

Meanwhile, a charity, the Denise Coates Foundation, donated £85 million ($117 million) in 2020 to causes that included health, education, and disaster relief.

The Rich List

So how does Coates’ salary stack up against the other 0.0001 percenters?

Well, it’s certainly difficult to find anyone who was paid higher last year, although admittedly not all the results are in, and there are likely to be individuals who are off the radar.

It has been reported that Elon Musk was the best-paid executive in 2020. But it’s not that simple. Musk is not paid a salary at all, but is compensated at Tesla via an elaborate performance-based rewards plan that mainly involves stock options.

This either means he earned over $700 million in 2020, or nothing, depending on whom you listen to.

Meanwhile, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos may be the world’s richest man, but most of his estimated $200 billion is tied up in Amazon shares, which is like having the biggest pile of gift vouchers on the planet. His actual salary is very modest – around $80,000. That’s roughly what Coates earns every 15 minutes.

Other likely candidates we looked at didn’t come close. Alphabet (Google) CEO Sundar Pichai is expected to have earned (only) around $200 million, while Microsoft boss Satya Nadella bagged a paltry $44.32 million in 2020.

Another Brit, the hedge fund billionaire Sir Chris Hohn, paid himself £343 million ($474 million) last year.

According to Forbes, an authority on most things wealth-related, the highest-paid celebrity in 2020 was Kylie Jenner, with earnings of $590 million.

Coates trumps Jenner’s personal income by almost $60 million. Not bad for a woman who started her business in a portable building in an unglamorous part of England nearly 20 years ago.