Gas pay rebels face lukewarm reaction

Standard Life will not support a rebel shareholder's resolution at British Gas's annual meeting next week demanding the company goes back on its pounds 1m-plus pay package for chief executive Cedric Brown.

The shareholder, PIRC, a corporate governance consultancy, is proposing a resolution demanding British Gas reconsiders the 75 per cent increase taking Mr Brown's basic pay to pounds 475,000. Under the company's long-term incentive scheme, Mr Brown also gets a bonus paid in shares, worth up to 125 per cent of basic pay.

Dick Barfield, chief investment manager at Standard Life, said: "We have had a long conversation with the company and support the broad thrust of what they are doing on executive compensation. If we didn't support the company on this, we would vote against the re-election of the directors, not for PIRC's resolution."

However, Mr Barfield added: "We have reservations about the performancing of the long-term incentive scheme."

He said he wants to see bonuses related to the company's profit performance rather than movements in share price.

The row over British Gas pay will come to a head at the company's AGM at London Arena next week. The number of shareholders saying they will attend was 6,800 last night. The postal voting deadline is effectively tomorrow.

A British Gas spokesman said voting so far shows "considerable support for the company", but said some shareholders had voted for PIRC.

PIRC claims it has seven household-name institutions agreeing to support them, with five others abstaining, but refuses to name them.

Anne Simpson, PIRC's joint managing director co-ordinating the campaign, said: "Management must lead by example on pay. British Gas, at a time of redundancies and pay cuts, has upset staff, which must concern shareholders."

Whether the campaign can achieve a rethink on board pay, PIRC claims it will have been worthwhile. "The commotion on Cedric Brown's pay has made fund managers and pension fund trustees sit in their own boardrooms and take voting issues seriously for the first time."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Recruitment Genius: Content Writer - Global Financial Services

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: From modest beginnings the comp...

Recruitment Genius: Web Developer - PHP

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: From modest beginnings the comp...

Recruitment Genius: Field Sales Consultant - Financial Services - OTE £65,000

£15000 - £65000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Loan Underwriter

£18000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Day In a Page

A nap a day could save your life - and here's why

A nap a day could save your life

A midday nap is 'associated with reduced blood pressure'
If men are so obsessed by sex, why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?

If men are so obsessed by sex...

...why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?
The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3

Jon Thoday and Richard Allen-Turner

The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3
The bathing machine is back... but with a difference

Rolling in the deep

The bathing machine is back but with a difference
Part-privatised tests, new age limits, driverless cars: Tories plot motoring revolution

Conservatives plot a motoring revolution

Draft report reveals biggest reform to regulations since driving test introduced in 1935
The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

The honours that shame Britain

Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

International Tap Festival comes to the UK

Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

BBC heads to the Californian coast

The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

Car hacking scandal

Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
10 best placemats

Take your seat: 10 best placemats

Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory