Companies as diverse as the household goods group Reckitt Benckiser, Standard Chartered bank and the advertising giant WPP could be the next to face showdowns over pay as investors prepare to vote at forthcoming annual meetings.
With a string of major companies having already received rebukes over boardroom pay, Royal London Asset Management will vote against the £23m paid to Rakesh Kapoor, the chief executive of Reckitt Benckiser.
The company, known for products such as Cillit Bang, Nurofen and Durex, argues that “management only win if shareholders win”. Royal London’s Ashley Hamilton Claxton acknowledged the performance at Reckitt but she said its pay “consistently pushed the boundaries of acceptability in the UK”.
“Having weathered shareholder anger in the past, we hope that the vote this year will be a tipping point for Reckitt Benckiser’s board,” she said. The shareholder advisory body ISS is not recommending a protest over pay at Reckitt at next week’s annual meeting.
Hamilton Claxton is also planning to vote against pay at Standard Chartered next week because of pension payments to the top executives. A new pay policy that which covers the next three years will get the support of the fund management group, however, because it simplifies the structure.
Investors are also waiting for confirmation of the pay for Sir Martin Sorrell, chief executive of WPP. He has already received an award of nearly £63m in shares and the total of his pay for 2015 is expected to be announced on Friday. He told the BBC on Thursday: “It’s really pay for performance over the long term, over 30-plus years”.
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