Shareholders rebel over Tui chiefs' pay awards

Anger at fat cat bonuses expanded beyond the banking sector yesterday, after a shareholder rebellion at Tui Travel.

Tui, the company behind Thomson Holidays, saw a fifth of its investors vote against approving the company's remuneration report.

The vote was a clear sign of anger at the £2.4m paid last year to the former finance director Paul Bowtell, who left after a £117m accounting error was belatedly uncovered.

The failure saw the shares tank when it was finally reported, and Mr Bowtell quickly stepped down, despite praise from the chief executive, Peter Long, that he is "one of the most capable chief financial officers I know".

Mr Bowtell received £745,000 in severance pay and enjoyed a one-off contribution to his pension pot of £343,000. That major City institutions are now willing to protest about such payments shows how widespread anger at executive pay has become.

Tui declined to comment.

The protest vote came on the same day Tui reported first-quarter results.

The company says it is profiting at the expense of its arch-rival, Thomas Cook, which required an emergency bailout from banks last year following three profit warnings.

Sales in the three months to the end of December were up 5 per cent to £2.85bn. It made a loss of £109m that was widely anticipated by the City – travel firms are usually in the red during the winter months.

Mr Long said: "I think we are clearly a beneficiary of the uncertain environment our competitor is operating in."

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