Nearly 23 years have passed since protesters brought a 20-stone pig, nicknamed Cedric, to British Gas’s annual meeting. Their aim was to draw attention to what they saw as excessive pay for the energy company’s chief executive. The publicity stunt, designed to embarrass the British Gas boss at the time, Cedric Brown, has been highlighted several times by investment professionals over the past week when discussing the distinct difference in executive pay levels in the US and the UK. The sense is the pig stunt would never have happened across the Atlantic. This is despite the fact that executive pay levels in the US have been described to me by several prominent European fund managers as "egregious", "frightening" and "on a different planet".The best-paid chief executive of any US-listed company last year — John Hammergren of McKessen, the pharmaceutical company — earned nearly $80m more last year than Britain’s best-paid chief executive, Martin Sorrell of WPP, the advertising conglom...

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