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 Rape threats, death threats and a police investigation after video poking fun at an Islamic Party in Malaysia goes viral
- 2 Katie Hopkins attacked me on Twitter — so I reported her to the police for inciting racial hatred
- 3 Gamers confess the worst things they've done in The Sims
- 4 6-year-old writes ice cold Valentine's card to his stepmother
- 5 Syrian child photographed 'surrendering to camera because she thought it was a gun'
Rape threats, death threats and a police investigation after video poking fun at an Islamic Party in Malaysia goes viral
Why Robin Williams safeguarded himself against a morbid trend in advertising
Jeremy Clarkson 'could be given minder' ahead of a potential Top Gear return
6-year-old writes ice cold Valentine's card to his stepmother
Jeremy Clarkson to become 'special adviser on transport' to David Cameron
Katie Hopkins attacked me on Twitter — so I reported her to the police for inciting racial hatred
Street preacher quoting from the Bible fined for calling homosexuality an 'abomination'
Woman filmed launching racist tirade against men on the Tube for speaking in 'own lingo'
David Cameron calls Labour 'hopeless, sneering socialists' while announcing 7-day NHS plans
Revealed: Putin's army of pro-Kremlin bloggers
Katie Hopkins reported to the police for race hatred by Labour MP Simon Danczuk after tweet about Pakistani men
iJobs Money & Business
£20000 per annum + commission: SThree: Sthree have an exciting opportunity for...
£18000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Telesales Executive is requir...
£45000 - £50000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...
£50,000 - £55,000: Neil Pavier: Are you a professionally qualified commercial ...