Wm. Morrison Supermarkets (LON:MRW) is bracing for an investor revolt at its annual meeting this Thursday. Shareholders are expected to oppose the group’s remuneration policy following the £3 million payout to its former chief executive. Dalton Philips, who was ousted in January after five years of dire performance results, walked away with a £1.1 million payoff, as well as a bonus of £1 million, a base salary of £850,000 and a £239,000 pension and benefits pot.
The Investment Management Association has issued an amber top alert on the pay report – its second most severe warning. Inside sources have told Sky News that around 20 percent of votes are expected to be cast against the policy, although the actual figure could be higher. Advisory firm Pirc urged shareholders to abstain, saying it had “concerns” over the size of payments made to Philips’, while the American proxy agency ISS is also understood to have told clients to oppose Morrisons’ remuneration report.
Oliver Parry at the Institute of Directors said, as quote by the Sunday Times: “Considering the loss posted by Morrisons and what appears to be a lack of stringent performance targets, all shareholders will need to scrutinise [Philips’] pay deal closely.”
Morrisons has not commented on the matter. Shares in the company have been trading marginally higher this morning. As of 08:47 BST, the stock has climbed 0.12 percent to 171.20p. In the year to date, the FTSE 100-listed group has lost more than five percent of its market value. Morrisons is attempting to rebuild trading momentum under its new chief executive, David Potts.