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Admiral boss gives gift of PS7m to employees.

Byline: Chris Kelsey Assistant head of business chris.kelsey@walesonline.co.uk

CHIEF executive of Admiral Henry Engelhardt and his wife Diane are giving a PS7m cash thank-you to the company's global 8,000-plus workforce.

Chicago-born Mr Engelhardt will stand down as chief executive of the car and home insurance giant, which has its headquarters in Cardiff, in May.

And in a hugely generous gesture he and his wife Diane are giving all Admiral staff a cash gift of PS1,000, or PS500, depending on length of service.

The gift, from their own pockets, was confirmed by the Engelhardts at Admiral's annual staff meeting held yesterday at Cardiff's Motorpoint Arena, which was attended by around 3,000 staff from its Cardiff and Newport offices. A general meeting for the firm's 1,893 staff in Swansea was held yesterday afternoon.

A video message on the cash gift was also sent to staff at Admiral's overseas businesses in Italy, Spain, France, Canada, India and the US.

The gift means that full-time staff who have been with company for at least a year will receive a PS1,000 cash payment, regardless of seniority, in their May pay packets.

And a far smaller number of staff, who have been with Admiral for less than a year, will receive a PS500 cash payment from the couple.

Worldwide, Admiral has a total headcount of 8,375.

Admiral's management team have always stressed that the success of the business, which started selling car insurance over the phone in Cardiff in 1993 and now has global revenues of PS2bn as Wales' only FTSE 100 firm, is down to the hard work of each and every member of staff.

The firm, since floating on the London Stock Exchange in 2004, has consistently rewarded staff with the highest levels of performance-related bonus shares.

Mr Engelhardt said: "Saying thank you to all the Admiral staff who work so hard every day to make Admiral great is the most important thing we can do. We are making this gift in recognition of the hard work and team spirit that has underpinned Admiral's success as we've grown from a start-up with value of PS0 to a FTSE 100 company with a value of PS5bn today.

"I am proud to have been part of the team of thousands who have created such a great business and great place to work. My wife and I just want to say a very sincere thank you to everyone at Admiral."

One of the delighted workers was Gareth Busson, who had no hesitation in messaging his fiancee on Facebook: "Honeymoon paid for Sophie". And co-Admiral employee Sophie Sutton was quick to agree.

The couple have been together for 13 years but delayed getting married due to having two children and waiting until they could afford their special day.

"The gift from Henry is going to help us massively with our upcoming wedding," said Sophie, who works for Admiral in Newport.

"We had booked a honeymoon to Mexico and were going to have to pay the balance off with a credit card but with the money from Henry it means we won't need to do that.

"As you can imagine this is an amazing surprise and will truly help us enjoy the experience even more. We may even be able to afford to upgrade to the honeymoon suite!

"Working in Admiral has helped so much with our wedding already as I have used some of my staff shares to pay off part of the day, and without that we would have really struggled to achieve our dream wedding."

Sophie, who will marry Gareth on April 1 in Cardiff, says the news was a shock to all staff.

"I have worked for Admiral for just over five years and I honestly really enjoy my job. Henry's work ethic really motivates the staff and it makes coming to work so much easier. My partner often jokes that it's not really a job because we have so much fun.

"On behalf of myself and all our department I know we are all so thankful for this wonderful gift today and it has lifted spirits even higher than they already were. Henry is a legend!" In Wales, Admiral has a headcount of just more than 6,000. Its HQ in Cardiff has a workforce of 3,190, with nearly 850 in Newport.

Mr Engelhardt will remain with Admiral in a part-time executive role, when he is succeeded by Admiral's current chief operating officer David Stevens as chief executive on May 12. He and his wife have also donated millions to good causes through their Moondance Foundation charity. The couple still have around an 11% equity stake in Admiral, which is worth more than PS500m.

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<'My wife and I just want to say a very sincere thank you to everyone at Admiral' - Henry Engelhardt with wife Diane
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Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Mar 18, 2016
Words:815
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