The day investors bit back

Nearly 60 per cent of Aviva shareholders refuse to back boardroom pay deals. Sly Bailey ousted at Trinity Mirror. Big backers revolt at Inmarsat. Bonus row erupts at Premier Foods

An unprecedented wave of shareholder fury against boardroom largesse swept through the City yesterday, claiming the scalp of Trinity Mirror's Sly Bailey, one of Britain's best-known female chief executives.

Her departure came as angry investors voiced their disapproval of soaring boardroom pay at a time of falling dividends and share prices at annual meetings yesterday across the Square Mile.

Aviva became only the fourth FTSE 100 company to have its remuneration report thrown out by shareholders as the City's spring of discontent claimed its first blue-chip scalp.

Nearly 60 per cent of the insurance giant's shareholders refused to back the bumper pay packages it has awarded its executives, despite the fact that its shares have been falling of a cliff.

On a red letter day for shareholder activism, nearly 40 per cent of shareholders also failed to back the satellite giant Inmarsat's boardroom pay, where its chairman Andrew Sukawaty is taking home the same pay he received when he combined the roles of chief executive and chairman.

At Premier Foods, 26 per cent of investors issued a rebuke to its bosses after it welcomed its new chief executive with a £2m "golden hello" last year. Last Friday, 26.9 per cent of Barclays shareholders rejected the £17.7m pay package of chief executive Bob Diamond.

However, the Aviva vote was the most significant yesterday and came despite an attempt to buy off furious investors earlier in the week when chief executive Andrew Moss said he would forgo this year's pay rise.

It is particularly important as Aviva is itself a big institutional shareholder and the vote marks the first time that the City has taken such a pot-shot at one of its own.

During the company's annual meeting at the Barbican in the City of London, the board faced a broadside from private investors and customers furious at what some see as betrayal of their loyalty. In the last five years, since Mr Moss took charge, the shares have halved and the dividend been destroyed.

One investor, Philip Broadbent, said that during that period only two things had gone up – executive pay and non-executive pay. "The board has been rather more concerned about growing their remuneration than growing our business," he said to applause.

Much of the anger at Aviva's shareholder meeting was aimed at Mr Moss, who was paid £3m last year and has been under fire as a result of the group's stuttering performance.

But because pay votes only hold advisory status, Mr Moss and his team will all keep their deals. The Aviva boss also received 95 per cent backing for his re-election.

The chairman, Lord Sharman, leading his last AGM before stepping down, accepted that Aviva has had tough times, but argued that this was to do with the banking crisis and strife in the eurozone rather than management incompetence.

Another investor noted how many senior executives of long-standing experience had left the company. "When children start running away from home, you have to look at the parents," he said. "You and Mr Moss are bad parents," he told the chairman.

Mr Moss, who is also facing calls from some large City investors to step down, apologised for the state of the share price. "I deeply care about the Aviva share price," he said.

A spokesman for the corporate governance consultancy Pirc, which advises some of Britain's biggest pension funds, said after the AGM: "[Aviva] now needs to make good on its commitment to talk to shareholders, find out what has gone wrong and put it right.

"We have felt since the financial crisis hit that there was going to be a need for shareholders to improve their oversight. We are now finally seeing institutions standing up and taking ownership responsibilities seriously."

Arts & Entertainment
The original design with Charles' face clearly visible, which is on display around the capital
arts + ents The ad shows Prince Charles attired for his coronation in a crown and fur mantle with his mouth covered by a criss-cross of white duct tape
Sport
Mourinho lost his temper as well as the match
sportLiverpool handed title boost as Sunderland smash manager’s 77-game home league run
Voices
Sweet tweet: Victoria Beckham’s selfie, taken on her 40th birthday on Thursday
voices... and her career-long attack on the absurd criteria by which we define our 'betters', by Ellen E Jones
Sport
Mercedes Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton of Britain (front) drives ahead of Red Bull Formula One driver Daniel Ricciardo of Australia during the Chinese F1 Grand Prix at the Shanghai International circuit
sport Hamilton captured his third straight Formula One race with ease on Sunday, leading from start to finish to win the Chinese Grand Prix

VIDEO
Arts & Entertainment
Billie Jean King, who won the women’s Wimbledon title in 1967, when the first colour pictures were broadcast
tv
News
Snow has no plans to step back or reduce his workload
mediaIt's 25 years since Jon Snow first presented Channel 4 News, and his drive shows no sign of diminishing
Life & Style
food + drinkWhat’s not to like?
Voices
Clock off: France has had a 35‑hour working week since 1999
voicesThere's no truth to a law banning work emails after 6pm, but that didn’t stop media hysteria
Arts & Entertainment
Maisie Williams of Game of Thrones now
tvMajor roles that grow with their child actors are helping them to steal the show on TV
Arts & Entertainment
Kingdom Tower
architecture
Life & Style
Lana Del Rey, Alexa Chung and Cara Delevingne each carry their signature bag
fashionMulberry's decision to go for the super-rich backfired dramatically
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

1st Line Helpdesk Engineer Apprentice

£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company has been providing on site ...

Telesales & Sales Support Apprentice

£221.25 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company is a well established Inter...

Client Relationship Manager - SQL, Python

£40000 - £50000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Client Relationship Manager - SQL...

**Financial Services Tax**

£35000 - £50000 per annum: Pro-Recruitment Group: Take your chance to join the...

Day In a Page

How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe: Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC

How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe

Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC
Video of British Muslims dancing to Pharrell Williams's hit Happy attacked as 'sinful'

British Muslims's Happy video attacked as 'sinful'

The four-minute clip by Honesty Policy has had more than 300,000 hits on YouTube
Church of England-raised Michael Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith

Michael Williams: Do as I do, not as I pray

Church of England-raised Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith
A History of the First World War in 100 moments: A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife

A History of the First World War in 100 moments

A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife
Comedian Jenny Collier: 'Sexism I experienced on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

Jenny Collier: 'Sexism on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

The comedian's appearance at a show on the eve of International Women's Day was cancelled because they had "too many women" on the bill
Cannes Film Festival: Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or

Cannes Film Festival

Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or
The concept album makes surprise top ten return with neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson

The concept album makes surprise top ten return

Neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson is unexpected success
Lichen is the surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus, thanks to our love of Scandinavian and Indian cuisines

Lichen is surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus

Emily Jupp discovers how it can give a unique, smoky flavour to our cooking
10 best baking books

10 best baking books

Planning a spot of baking this bank holiday weekend? From old favourites to new releases, here’s ten cookbooks for you
Jury still out on Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini

Jury still out on Pellegrini

Draw with Sunderland raises questions over Manchester City manager's ability to motivate and unify his players
Ben Stokes: 'Punching lockers isn't way forward'

Ben Stokes: 'Punching lockers isn't way forward'

The all-rounder has been hailed as future star after Ashes debut but incident in Caribbean added to doubts about discipline. Jon Culley meets a man looking to control his emotions
Mark Johnston: First £1 million jackpot spurs him on

Mark Johnston: First £1 million jackpot spurs him on

The most prize money ever at an All-Weather race day is up for grabs at Lingfield on Friday, and the record-breaking trainer tells Jon Freeman how times have changed
Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail. If you think it's awful, then just don't watch it'

Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail'

As the second series of his divisive sitcom 'Derek' hits screens, the comedian tells James Rampton why he'll never bow to the critics who habitually circle his work
Mad Men series 7, TV review: The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge

Mad Men returns for a final fling

The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge
Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground as there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit

Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground

Technology giant’s scientists say there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit