Tuesday, 17 July 2018

BT suffers shareholder backlash over CEO's pay cheque

By Chris Kelly, Total Telecom
Wednesday 11 July 18

BT held its AGM in the Scottish capital of Edinburgh today

BT suffered a backlash from its shareholders today, as 34 per cent of investors rejected the former incumbent's remuneration report at its AGM in Edinburgh. The headline item in the report was departing CEO Gavin Patterson's £…

BT suffered a backlash from its shareholders today, as 34 per cent of investors rejected the former incumbent's remuneration report at its AGM in Edinburgh.

The headline item in the report was departing CEO Gavin Patterson's £2.3 million pay packet, which constituted a £1 million increase in his package in the same year that the company was forced to make 13,000 of its staff redundant.

Prior to the meeting, a number of key shareholder groups had advised its members to oppose the motion.

“The company’s recent poor share performance, the decision to cut 13,000 jobs in order to deal with losses, and the losses brought about by BT Italy’s accounting practices are not reflected in the CEO’s remuneration," The Pensions & Investment Research Consultants (PIRC), a key stakeholder in BT, said in a statement.  

In a statement to the press, BT said that it was "naturally disappointed" with the response to its remuneration report.

“Historically, both the remuneration report and our remuneration policy have received overwhelming shareholder support and over the past two weeks we have been in dialogue with our major shareholders and proxy advisers to discuss their questions and concerns.

“We understand that the lower level of support for the remuneration report is, in the most part, attributable to the annual bonus payment to BT’s chief executive for the 2017/18 performance year.

“During the remainder of 2018 we will engage further with our shareholders and proxy advisers to understand in full detail the reasons for their concerns and whether we should consider any changes to our longer-term approach to remuneration," the statement said.

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