Brussels looks at 'say on pay' legislation

Company managers may have to put their pay packets to a shareholder vote and introduce a quota for women executives under new proposals from Brussels.

The European Commission proposal, which is now open for public comment, also limits on the number of jobs for non-executive directors. EU officials estimate that one in 10 seats on supervisory boards are occupied by women. "There is evidence that women have different leadership styles, attend more board meetings and have a positive impact on the collective intelligence of a group," the authors of the proposal wrote.

Pay voting practice varies across Europe. In Germany, shareholders do not get the chance to vote specifically on management pay, whereas in Britain, they typically do. But while Germany introduced a €500,000 cap on management pay at its state-supported bank Commerzbank, the new head of UK state-backed Lloyds recently struck a three-year pay deal worth up to £10m.