Hammerson faces shareholder dissent over executive pay

// Hammerson faces potential shareholder rebellion over multimillion-pound payouts to executives
// Shareholder advisory group Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS) criticised Hammerson
// ISS urging investors to vote against exec pay at Hammerson’s AGM in London today

Hammerson is facing a potential shareholder rebellion over multimillion-pound share payouts to executives.

Shareholder advisory group Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS), which has criticised the owner of Birmingham Bullring and London’s Brent Cross, urged investors to vote against executive pay in the lead-up to Hammerson’s AGM in London today.

ISS accused Hammerson of not considering the company’s 40 per cent declined share price, when making share award decisions for chief executive David Atkins and other senior executives.

“The company’s declining share price has not been taken into consideration when granting share-based awards,” ISS said.

“Further, a bonus was awarded to the outgoing executive directors despite the financial targets not being met and the company recording an operating loss.

“As such, support for the remuneration report is not considered warranted.”

Meanwhile, Hammerson chief investment officer Peter Cole and France managing director Jean-Philippe Mouton resigned from their roles as executive directors at the end of December, although they have remained at the company since.

Hammerson eliminated its plan of a £3.4 billion buyout of its smaller rival Intu in April after the deal fell through.

Moreover, Hammerson is selling off over £900 million of assets following the UK high street’s decline.

US hedge fund Elliott Advisors, which owns a five per cent stake in Hammerson, urged the shopping centre giant to appoint two new non-executive directors to an investment and disposals committee.

Hammerson president and chief executive, David Atkins was paid £1.16 million last year, down from £1.8 million in 2017.

His salary rose to £639,000 from £623,000 and he received £307,000 in share awards under a long-term incentive plan, compared with £376,000 in 2017.

Meanwhile, it was revealed that Cole was the second-best paid executive with a £986,000 salary, followed by the chief financial officer Timon Drakesmith at £785,000 and Mouton, who received £769,000.

Neither Atkins nor Drakesmith had an annual bonus, while Cole and Mouton received bonuses of £140,000 and £116,000 respectively.

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