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[May 08, 2014]
Executive pay: Shareholders rebel over Reckitt and Ocado plans
(Guardian (UK) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Shareholder rebellions over directors' pay continued yesterday when household goods group Reckitt Beckiser and online grocer Ocado both faced revolts at their annual meetings. The votes follow similar rebellions at Pearson, AstraZeneca and Barclays.
Nearly one-third of Reckitt's shareholders opposed its annual pay report, with 20% rejecting the separate pay policy outlining the company's bonus policy. The company's pay framework handed its chief executive, Rakesh Kapoor, pounds 6.7m last year.
Shareholder lobby group PIRC had urged investors to oppose the vote, saying: "Maximum potential payouts under all incentive schemes for the executives are considered excessive . . . The ratio of CEO pay compared to average employee pay has not been disclosed and is estimated to be 160:1, which is considered excessive." Some 20% of Ocado shareholders voted against the online grocer's pay report. The rebellion centred on its "growth incentive plan", which awards free shares to directors depending on the company's share price. Later this month, chief executive Tim Steiner will be granted 4m shares, currently worth more than pounds 12m. Two other directors will each receive 1m shares.
The proposal had been "red-topped" by the Association of British Insurers, indicating serious concerns over the pay plan. A spokesman said Ocado had consulted its shareholders over the pay scheme and that it had the support of the majority. Staff and agencies (c) 2014 Guardian Newspapers Limited.
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