// Morrisons investors vote against its pay policy at AGM
// The UK corporate governance code says executive pension contributions should be in line with those of the workforce
// Morrisons CEO David Potts & COO Trevor Strain bank 24% of basic salaries while shop floor staff bank 5%
Morrisons has seen over a third of its investors vote against its pay policy at the retailer’s annual shareholder meeting on Thursday.
Investors expressed concern after Morrisons chief executive David Potts and chief operating officer Trevor Strain received generous pension deals.
The UK corporate governance code says executive pension contributions should be in line with those of the workforce, and while Potts and Strain bank payments worth 24 per cent of their basic salaries, the majority of shop floor staff receive five per cent.
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Ahead of the meeting the Investment Association, which represents UK asset managers, raised a red flag over the pensions issue while ISS, an investor advisory group, also opposed the policy.
“Although the policy vote passed, and we received considerable positive feedback during consultation, the board acknowledges a number of shareholders decided to vote against the policy,” Morrisons said.
Potts received a £4.2 million pay package last year, including a £2.3 million long-term share bonus.
The payout was slightly down on the £4.5 million of the previous year, but raised concerns as it was not far behind the £6.4 million received by Tesco chief executive Dave Lewis, who runs the leader of the Big 4.
Morrisons also issued a message of support for Belinda Richards, after a fifth of shareholders voted against her re-election as a non-executive director.
The company said the result was driven by the votes from a small number of institutions who applied a more stringent voting policy on directors’ external commitments.
“The board strongly supports Belinda’s re-appointment to the board, and throughout her tenure she has demonstrated her commitment to the company and ability to dedicate sufficient time to her duties,” Morrisons said.