Sainsbury's paymasters face investor rebellion

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The Independent Online

Shareholders in J Sainsbury are to call for a shake-up of the group's remuneration committee after the debacle over the £2.4m performance bonus awarded to Sir Peter Davis, the ousted chairman of the struggling supermarket group.

Shareholders in J Sainsbury are to call for a shake-up of the group's remuneration committee after the debacle over the £2.4m performance bonus awarded to Sir Peter Davis, the ousted chairman of the struggling supermarket group.

A large number of investors will voice their fury tomorrow by voting against the remuneration report at the group's annual general meeting, despite the U-turn by Sainsbury's, which has said it may not make the £2.4m award. Sir Peter is talking to his lawyers about his next move.

The two directors up for re-election - Lord Levene and Jamie Dundas - sit on the remuneration committee and face not being re-elected. The committee's chairman, Keith Butler-Wheelhouse, is under the most pressure but is not standing for re-election.

Shareholders have warned that a "significant minority" of close to 50 per cent of investors will vote against the remuneration report, which includes Sir Peter's pay deal.

It is also believed that Judith Portrait, the solicitor who controls the 23 per cent stake owned by Lord Sainsbury, the Science minister, will abstain.

Sir Peter was kicked out as chairman earlier this month as the group issued a profits warning. He only became chairman in March, stepping up from being chief executive. Shareholders are angry that he will receive 86 per cent of his maximum possible bonus despite presiding over falling profits and market share.

Richard Singleton, the director of corporate governance of fund manager Isis, which is voting against the remuneration report, said: "If a company rejects the remuneration report, one of the first things it must do is review the personnel on the remuneration committee."

Sir Peter stands to receive 86 per cent of his maximum bonus.

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