Slew of Britain’s biggest companies face revolts over ‘excessive’ pay packages handed to bosses
- Large pay increases have drawn criticism as Britain struggles with cost-of-living
- Baroness Altmann: ‘I would hope that those at the top would show restraint’
- Shareholder advisory group Pirc has lambasted several companies
A slew of Britain’s biggest companies face revolts this week over ‘excessive’ pay packages handed to bosses.
Gambling giant Flutter, house builders Taylor Wimpey and Persimmon, insurer Admiral Group and British American Tobacco (BAT) are all in investors’ crosshairs ahead of annual general meetings (AGM).
Large pay increases have drawn criticism as Britain struggles with the cost-of-living crisis.
Former work and pensions minister Baroness Altmann said: ‘I would hope that those at the top would show restraint. It is not healthy for corporate Britain if the workforce are made to feel that their bosses are entitled to massive rises in their already-high pay.’
Shareholder advisory group Pirc advised Taylor Wimpey investors to vote against the pay report at the AGM tomorrow.
This covered 2021, when chief executive Pete Redfern bagged £2.8m. His salary is in the top 25 per cent of comparable companies, Pirc said, ‘which raises concerns over excessiveness of his pay’.
Pirc also admonished Taylor Wimpey for shelling out 42 times the average employee’s wages on Redfern. This is ‘not acceptable’, the advisers said.
Persimmon, which once handed its former boss, Jeff Fairburn, a £75m bonus, will also come under fire at its AGM on Wednesday for planning to award current boss Dean Finch base pay of £746,800. New finance director Jason Windsor will pocket a base wage of £675,000 – 27 per cent higher than his predecessor.
Admiral is one of just a handful of major firms to have a female chief executive, but Pirc still lambasted the business for paying Milena Mondini de Focatiis 43 times the average employee’s wage. Her total variable pay last year, which includes bonuses, was 247.8 per cent of her salary – ‘above the acceptable limit of 200 per cent’. De Focatiis scooped a total of £2.4m last year.
Luke Hildyard, director of the High Pay Centre think tank, said: ‘Boards and chief executives have to decide whether to prioritise their own self-enrichment, or if they want their businesses to be valued and respected.
‘If [they decide on the former] support for more aggressive regulation of business is likely to increase.’
A chunk of the FTSE 100 could be left with a bloody nose on Thursday, as several companies hold their AGMs.
Flutter, which owns Paddy Power and Betfair, was blasted by advisory service ISS for ramping up the base pay of chief executive Peter Jackson by 26 per cent to more than £1.1m.
BAT was criticised for proposing bonuses and incentives to its boss Jack Bowles of up to 750 per cent of his salary – a deal which would be worth £11.8m if BAT hit all its targets.