Reckitt faces shareholder protest against chief's pay

Reckitt Benckiser, the household products giant, faces the prospect of a humiliating vote by shareholders today in protest at the £4m-plus pay package of its chief executive, Bart Becht.

City sources said yesterday that Reckitt, whose products include Mr Sheen and Dettol, would be "lucky" if it escaped a substantial vote against its remuneration report at its annual meeting.

Despite Reckitt's strong share-price performance, a significant proportion of its shareholders are opposed to the structure of Mr Becht's pay, which allows him to receive potentially massive share options pay-outs and a large hike in pension contributions.

According to Pirc, the pension fund advisory group, the Dutch chief executive took home shares and share options equal to nine times his base pay last year. That was on top of salary, bonus and pension contributions worth £4.2m.

The way that the package is structured - which attempts to put Mr Becht's pay on an equal footing with that of his US competitors - prompted the Association of British Insurers to issue a "red top" note, its most severe warning that Reckitt's remuneration report should be blocked. Richard Singleton, the director of corporate governance at ISIS Asset Management, said he would vote against Mr Becht's remuneration, saying: "This is well out of line with current practice and we will not be supporting it."

The ABI said it was "regrettable" that it had been forced to issue a red top because the company's performance has been strong, but added: "They've pushed the boundaries of what is best practice."

Next may also be in for criticism at its annual meeting today. While the company has taken account of best practice by shortening directors' two-year contracts to one year in most circumstances, the high street retailer is one of the few companies to retain a provision for a 24-month pay-off for executives if it is taken over.

Separately, GlaxoSmithKline is likely to face opposition to its remuneration policy at its annual meeting next Monday, though it will be nothing like the humiliating defeat it suffered over pay at last year's meeting.

In recognition of the fact that the pharmaceuticals group has reined in some aspects of its directors' pay, Mr Singleton said: "We feel they have come such a long way that it would be churlish not to support them, but we need to watch and make sure the process continues."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
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

Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Advisor

£15000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Customer Service Advisor is r...

Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey / South West London

£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

SThree: HR Benefits Manager

£40000 - £50000 per annum + pro rata: SThree: SThree Group have been well esta...

Recruitment Genius: Office Manager / Financial Services

£30000 - £37000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Established in 1999, a highly r...

Day In a Page

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

It's not easy being Green

After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

Gorillas nearly missed

BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

The Downton Abbey effect

Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

China's wild panda numbers on the up

New census reveals 17% since 2003