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
News
The Banksy image in Folkestone before it was vandalised
people
Life and Style
tech

Sales of the tablet are set to fall again, say analysts

Sport
football West Brom vs Man Utd match report: Blind grabs point, but away form a problem for Van Gaal
Arts and Entertainment
Gotham is coming to UK shores this autumn
tvGotham, episode 2, review
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Bloom Time: Mira Sorvino
tvMira Sorvino on leaving movie roles for 'The Intruders'
News
First woman: Valentina Tereshkova
peopleNASA guinea pig Kate Greene thinks it might fly
News
Brian Harvey turned up at Downing Street today demanding to speak to the Prime Minister
news

Met Police confirm there was a 'minor disturbance' and that no-one was arrested

Arts and Entertainment
George Lucas poses with a group of Star Wars-inspired Disney characters at Disney's Hollywood Studios in 2010
films

George Lucas criticises the major Hollywood film studios

Voices
Chris Grayling, Justice Secretary: 'There are pressures which we are facing but there is not a crisis'
voices

Does Chris Grayling realise what a vague concept he is dealing with?

News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Life and Style
A street vendor in Mexico City sells Dorilocos, which are topped with carrot, jimaca, cucumber, peanuts, pork rinds, spices and hot sauce
food + drink

Trend which requires crisps, a fork and a strong stomach is sweeping Mexico's streets

Life and Style
The charity Sands reports that 11 babies are stillborn everyday in the UK
lifeEleven babies are stillborn every day in the UK, yet no one speaks about this silent tragedy
News
Blackpool is expected to become one of the first places to introduce the Government’s controversial new Public Space Protection Orders (PSPOs)
news

Parties threaten resort's image as a family destination

Life and Style
Northern soul mecca the Wigan Casino
fashionGone are the punks, casuals, new romantics, ravers, skaters, crusties. Now all kids look the same
Life and Style
gaming

I Am Bread could actually be a challenging and nuanced title

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Customer Service Executive / Inbound Customer Service Agent

£18 - 23k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Customer Service Executiv...

ASP.NET Web Developer / .NET Developer

£60 - 65k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a ASP.NET Web Developer / ....

Operational Risk Manager - Asset Management

£60,000 - £80,000: Saxton Leigh: Our client is an leading Asset Manager based...

Project Coordinator - 12 month contract

£27000 - £32000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our large charity ...

Day In a Page

Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
Ranked seventh in world’s best tourist cities - not London, or Edinburgh, but Salisbury

Salisbury ranked seventh in world’s best tourist cities

The city is home to one of the four surviving copies of the Magna Carta, along with the world’s oldest mechanical clock
Let's talk about loss

We need to talk about loss

Secrecy and silence surround stillbirth
Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Women may be better suited to space travel than men are
Oscar Pistorius sentencing: The athlete's wealth and notoriety have provoked a long overdue debate on South African prisons

'They poured water on, then electrified me...'

If Oscar Pistorius is sent to jail, his experience will not be that of other inmates
James Wharton: The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

Life after the Army has brought new battles for the LGBT activist James Wharton
Ebola in the US: Panic over the virus threatens to infect President Obama's midterms

Panic over Ebola threatens to infect the midterms

Just one person has died, yet November's elections may be affected by what Republicans call 'Obama's Katrina', says Rupert Cornwell
Premier League coaches join the RSC to swap the tricks of their trades

Darling, you were fabulous! But offside...

Premier League coaches are joining the RSC to learn acting skills, and in turn they will teach its actors to play football. Nick Clark finds out why
How to dress with authority: Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear

How to dress with authority

Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear
New book on Joy Division's Ian Curtis sheds new light on the life of the late singer

New book on Ian Curtis sheds fresh light on the life of the late singer

'Joy Division were making art... Ian was for real' says author Jon Savage
Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

The Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Barbra Streisand is his true inspiration
Tim Minchin, interview: The musician, comedian and world's favourite ginger is on scorching form

Tim Minchin interview

For a no-holds-barred comedian who is scathing about woolly thinking and oppressive religiosity, he is surprisingly gentle in person
Boris Johnson's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Boris's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Many of us Brits still disapprove of conspicuous consumption – it's the way we were raised, says DJ Taylor
Ash frontman Tim Wheeler reveals how he came to terms with his father's dementia

Tim Wheeler: Alzheimer's, memories and my dad

Wheeler's dad suffered from Alzheimer's for three years. When he died, there was only one way the Ash frontman knew how to respond: with a heartfelt solo album