// Morrisons is the latest grocer to face criticism over bosses’ pandemic payouts
// It removed the £290m cost of dealing with Covid-19 before calculating executive bonuses
// It is facing a big protest vote at its annual meeting this month
Morrisons chairman Andy Higginson has criticised shareholder voting agencies for condemning the decision by the grocer’s board to change the criteria used to calculate executive bonuses.
Advisory firms ISS and Glass Lewis recommended Morrisons’ shareholders vote against its pay report at the annual meeting on June 10 after the board adjusted the criteria for bonuses.
The Investment Association has also issued a “red top” — its highest level of concern — to its members.
“We strongly disagree with the position they have taken,” Higginson said.
“We considered this properly in the round and the management team earned their bonus this year.
“They did the right thing in working to keep the food supply chain open rather than worrying about their bonus.”
Morrisons recorded £290 million of costs when calculating bonuses for chief executive David Potts, chief operating officer Trevor Strain and chief financial officer Michael Gleeson.
The bonuses collectively equated to 200 per cent of salary, the maximum.
Potts earned £4.2 million last year, after receiving a £1.7 million bonus.
Morrisons said that pandemic-related costs reduced pre-tax profits by 51 per cent to £201 million in 2020 – which increased minimum hourly wages for store staff from £9.20 to £10 this year.