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 Rules on 5p plastic bags likely to lead to arguments at the check-out
- 2 Hulk Hogan wants to be Donald Trump's running mate in the US Presidential election
Rules on 5p plastic bags likely to lead to arguments at the check-out
Watch the Supermoon live: How to see the brightest Moon of the year tonight
Hulk Hogan wants to be Donald Trump's running mate in the US Presidential election
Blood Moon and Supermoon: September to bring brightest – and dimmest – full Moon of the year on same night
Turkey duped the US, and Isis reaps rewards
Climate change: 2015 will be the hottest year on record 'by a mile', experts say
'Women only' train carriages: Jeremy Corbyn unveils radical move to tackle public harassment
Black holes are a passage to another universe, says Stephen Hawking
Tony Blair attacks Jeremy Corbyn's 'Alice In Wonderland' politics
Iain Duncan Smith 'should resign over disability benefit death figures', says Jeremy Corbyn
Theresa May says migrants should be banned from entering the UK unless they have jobs lined up
iJobs Money & Business
£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: From modest beginnings the comp...
£35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: From modest beginnings the comp...
£15000 - £65000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...
£18000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...