Aviva is latest firm hit by 'shareholder spring' as chief executive quits

 

The so-called "shareholder spring" that has rocked boardrooms over recent days has been driven by anger that huge salaries and even bigger bonuses are out of kilter with falling share prices and pressure on profits.

Business Secretary Vince Cable and his department have finished a consultation on binding shareholder votes, which would mean pay deals would require the support of 75 per cent of votes, and will update on progress next month.

Alan MacDougall, managing director of Pensions and Investment Research Consultants (Pirc), has backed the proposals and said they should be brought into effect.

He said "investors' powers are relatively limited" and shareholders "must have the right tools to do the job".

Here we look at companies that have been chastised by their shareholders and those which will come under pressure in the weeks ahead:

Barclays

The banking giant was stung when nearly a third of shareholder votes failed to back its pay awards. Barclays revealed that 32 per cent of investors voted against or withheld votes for the bank's pay report, while 24 per cent failed to back remuneration committee chairman Alison Carnwath. Chief executive Bob Diamond sparked anger among shareholders when it emerged he would receive £17.7 million in salary, bonus, benefits and vested long-term share awards for 2011, despite admitting that his bank's performance was "unacceptable" in 2011. Shares are 25 per cent lower than a year ago.

Aviva

Andrew Moss, who has been chief executive since 2007, announced his immediate departure after more than half of shareholder votes failed to back the firm's remuneration report. The Oxford graduate offered to waive a near-5 per cent pay rise which would have taken his annual salary over the £1 million mark but this was not enough to appease investors, who have been hit by a 30 per cent drop in the share price in the last year.

Xstrata

Some 40 per cent of Xstrata shareholders failed to support the mining group's annual pay report, which revealed that chief executive Mick Davis could cash in shares and options worth £6 million. The miner, which has seen shares decline 23 per cent in the last year, also faced a revolt over the re-election of two directors. David Rough, a former chief investment officer at Legal & General who is now a non-executive at Xstrata, failed to win the support of almost 20 per cent of shareholders, while Glencore boss Ivan Glasenberg, who has a seat on the board, faced a 16 per cent protest vote.

Premier Foods

More than 30 per cent of shareholder votes failed to back Hovis to Mr Kipling owner Premier Foods' remuneration report last week. Premier, which saw its shares slide around 70 per cent throughout 2011, paid around £3.5 million to its executives last year, including a £1.9 million "golden hello" for new chief executive Michael Clarke when he joined eight months ago.

AstraZeneca

Chief executive David Brennan announced he will step down in June after slashing full-year profits hopes and coming under fire for not acting sooner to tackle a shortage of blockbuster drugs as patents expire. The pharmaceutical giant has seen its share price slide 10 per cent in the last 12 months.

Trinity Mirror

Sly Bailey, chief executive of Trinity Mirror, announced she was stepping down as the group, which publishes the Daily Mirror, Sunday Mirror and 160 local and regional newspapers, prepares to face a potential revolt over executive pay at its annual meeting on Thursday. Trinity Mirror's share price is 90 per cent lower than when Ms Bailey took charge 10 years ago, as the group has battled declining print sales amid competition from the internet.

Centrica

The energy giant is facing a revolt at its AGM on Friday after boss Sam Laidlaw accumulated a £4.3 million pay packet at a time when corporate earnings are flat and the Big Six energy company is under attack from politicians and the public over high prices.

WPP

Advertising giant WPP's annual meeting is not being held until June 13 but anger is already brewing over the pay deal awarded to founder and chief executive Sir Martin Sorrell, who took home almost £13 million in salary, bonuses and benefits in 2011.

William Hill

The Association of British Insurers (ABI), whose members control about 15 per cent of the stock market, issued an "amber top" warning on William Hill's remuneration report. The bookmaker was criticised over the pay package awarded to chief executive Ralph Topping, which includes a £1.2 million retention bonus and an 8.3 per cent salary rise. William Hill suffered a rebellion at its AGM last year over a 56% increase in Mr Topping's compensation package to £1.6 million.

Unilever

Unilever hosts its annual meeting tomorrow, and shareholders are expected to express concern over chief executive Paul Polman's 6 per cent rise in salary, taking him close to £975,000. Investors are also set to turn on a generous new long-term incentive scheme which some estimate could involve payouts of more than 400% of his salary.

Suggested Topics
Life & Style
Sampling wine in Turin
food + drink...and abstaining may be worse than drinking too much, says scientist
Arts & Entertainment
Kingdom Tower
architecture
Sport
Jose Mourinho restrains his assistant manager Rui Faria, Fabio Borini celebrates his winning penalty and Connor Wickham equalises for Sunderland
sportChelsea 1 Sunderland 2: Deafeat is extra bitter as former Chelsea player Fabio Borini scores late penalty to seal victory
Arts & Entertainment
Game of Thrones writer George R.R. Martin has been working on the novels since the mid-Nineties
books
VIDEO
News
Easter a dangerous time for dogs
these are the new ones. Old ones are below them... news
News
Brand said he
people
Sport
Roger Federer celebrates his victory over Novak Djokovic in the Monte Carlo Masters
sport
Voices
Actor Zac Efron
voicesTopless men? It's as bad as Page 3, says Howard Jacobson
Arts & Entertainment
The monster rears its head as it roars into the sky
film
Voices
For the Love of God (2007) The diamond-encrusted skull that divided the art world failed to sell for
its $100m asking price. It was eventually bought by a consortium
which included the artist himself.
voicesYou can shove it, Mr Webb – I'll be having fun until the day I die, says Janet Street-Porter
Extras
indybestFake it with 10 best self-tanners
Arts & Entertainment
Madonna in her music video for 'Like A Virgin'
music... and other misheard song lyrics
News
Much of the colleges’ land is off-limits to locals in Cambridge, with tight security
educationAnd has the Cambridge I knew turned its back on me?
News
peopleOrlando Bloom the pin-up hero is making a fresh start
News
Who makes you happy?
happy listSend your nominations now for the Independent on Sunday Happy List
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

1st Line Helpdesk Engineer Apprentice

£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company has been providing on site ...

Telesales & Sales Support Apprentice

£221.25 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company is a well established Inter...

Client Relationship Manager - SQL, Python

£40000 - £50000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Client Relationship Manager - SQL...

**Financial Services Tax**

£35000 - £50000 per annum: Pro-Recruitment Group: Take your chance to join the...

Day In a Page

How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe: Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC

How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe

Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC
Video of British Muslims dancing to Pharrell Williams's hit Happy attacked as 'sinful'

British Muslims's Happy video attacked as 'sinful'

The four-minute clip by Honesty Policy has had more than 300,000 hits on YouTube
Church of England-raised Michael Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith

Michael Williams: Do as I do, not as I pray

Church of England-raised Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith
A History of the First World War in 100 moments: A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife

A History of the First World War in 100 moments

A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife
Comedian Jenny Collier: 'Sexism I experienced on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

Jenny Collier: 'Sexism on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

The comedian's appearance at a show on the eve of International Women's Day was cancelled because they had "too many women" on the bill
Cannes Film Festival: Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or

Cannes Film Festival

Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or
The concept album makes surprise top ten return with neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson

The concept album makes surprise top ten return

Neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson is unexpected success
Lichen is the surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus, thanks to our love of Scandinavian and Indian cuisines

Lichen is surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus

Emily Jupp discovers how it can give a unique, smoky flavour to our cooking
10 best baking books

10 best baking books

Planning a spot of baking this bank holiday weekend? From old favourites to new releases, here’s ten cookbooks for you
Jury still out on Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini

Jury still out on Pellegrini

Draw with Sunderland raises questions over Manchester City manager's ability to motivate and unify his players
Ben Stokes: 'Punching lockers isn't way forward'

Ben Stokes: 'Punching lockers isn't way forward'

The all-rounder has been hailed as future star after Ashes debut but incident in Caribbean added to doubts about discipline. Jon Culley meets a man looking to control his emotions
Mark Johnston: First £1 million jackpot spurs him on

Mark Johnston: First £1 million jackpot spurs him on

The most prize money ever at an All-Weather race day is up for grabs at Lingfield on Friday, and the record-breaking trainer tells Jon Freeman how times have changed
Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail. If you think it's awful, then just don't watch it'

Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail'

As the second series of his divisive sitcom 'Derek' hits screens, the comedian tells James Rampton why he'll never bow to the critics who habitually circle his work
Mad Men series 7, TV review: The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge

Mad Men returns for a final fling

The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge
Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground as there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit

Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground

Technology giant’s scientists say there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit