Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou faced a humiliating defeat at the hands of easyJet shareholders yesterday, when they overwhelmingly backed a multi-million pound executives' bonus package which he had vociferously opposed.
More than 97 per cent of easyJet investors, apart from the 38 per cent stake owned by Sir Stelios and his family, voted to pass the airline's remuneration deal, which means 10 executives could get shares worth about £8m over the next three years.
Sir Stelios also failed to encourage enough investors to reject the re-election of four directors including chairman Sir Mike Rake. He was returned with 99.6 per cent of non-Sir Stelios votes. The chief executive, Carolyn McCall, was re-elected with 99.8 per cent of those votes.
Sir Mike used easyJet's annual meeting to threaten legal action against the airline's founder.
Sir Mike went on to claim Sir Stelios had run a campaign of "inappropriate and defamatory" attacks on the airline's executives. The entrepreneur has spent the past few weeks condemning the airline for the way it calculates bonuses for its bosses.
Despite his defeat in the vote, Sir Stelios claimed the board had made significant concessions due to his campaign, namely to agree to a rethink on the way performance is measured for bonuses.