WH Smith tries to head off revolt with plan to replace Handover
Monday 26 January 2004
WH Smith, the embattled newsagents group, is hoping that a pledge to quickly replace its chairman, Richard Handover, will avert a shareholder revolt at this week's annual meeting.
The retailer, out of investor favour after a string of profits warnings, is promising shareholders that Mr Handover will step down before the end of his one-year fixed contract next January. The company says he will go as soon as a successor is found.
Mr Handover, 57, has borne the brunt of City ire at WH Smith because his six-year tenure as chief executive has left the company struggling to justify its place on Britain's high streets. He was succeeded as chief executive in November by Kate Swann of Argos, and defied the Higgs code of corporate governance by moving up to replace Martin Taylor as chairman.
An early departure could mean that Mr Handover, who receives an annual salary of £465,000, is entitled to a hefty compensation payment.
Shareholders will vent their frustration at the company at Thursday's annual meeting, with many expected to either abstain or vote against its remuneration report - an issue because of the size of the "golden hello" awarded to Ms Swann. The National Association of Pension Funds has criticised the remuneration policy, arguing that it is "insufficiently tied to performance criteria".
Investors will criticise the company for its handling of the departure of Beverley Hodson, the former managing director of its retail chain who was sacked earlier this month.
However, shareholders are ultimately expected to back the remuneration report. Hermes, its third-biggest shareholder, is among those understood to have backed off after the group promised to step up its search for Mr Handover's successor.
- 1 The man who filmed the Freddie Gray video has been arrested at gunpoint
- 2 Pub landlord captures moment customer falls over on CCTV – just like Del Boy did on Only Fools and Horses
- 3 Top Gear: Jodie Kidd, Philip Glenister and Guy Martin 'in advanced talks' to join show
- 4 Frankie Boyle on Scottish independence: 'In the Interests of Unity, F**k Off'
- 5 How to gain confidence and maximise your sexual potential
Boston Marathon runner's search for mystery man she kissed ends with letter from his wife
Frankie Boyle on Scottish independence: 'In the Interests of Unity, F**k Off'
Italian police 'reveal' what Jesus looked like as a young boy
Mysterious 'X-Files' sounds heard miles above the Earth
Met Gala 2015: Beyoncé manages to out-skimp Rihanna, Miley and Kim Kardashian combined with near-naked ensemble
In defence of liberal democracy
The Rothschild Libel: Why has it taken 200 years for an anti-Semitic slur that emerged from the Battle of Waterloo to be dismissed?
General Election 2015: UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power, Labour warns
General election live: SNP suspends two members for disrupting Labour rally
Schools forced to act as 'miniature welfare states' with teachers buying underwear and even haircuts for poor pupils
Andy McSmith's Sketch: Feisty audience is the real star of an enlightening show
iJobs Money & Business
£20000 - £25000 per annum + Uncapped commission: SThree: Can you speak German,...
£25000 - £30000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: An exciting opportunity f...
£215 per day: Ashdown Group: Junior Project Manager (website, web application ...
£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software Engineer / Softw...